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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Touch-free SI punching

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Dec 29, 2016 4:20 PM # 
fossil:
Just noticed a discussion on Nopesport about use of SI air cards. The discussion there looks to be largely around the fairness/unfairness of whether events should allow both touch-free (or contactless) and touch (contact) SI cards in the same race.

I haven't seen SIAC (touch-free) discussed much on AP yet, maybe because the number of events that have used them in NA have so far been few, and those that I've seen have issued loaner cards to all participants.

While the Nopesport discussion goes through many of the expected arguments for and against mixed punching, a couple of things jump out at me:

1. If we're going to be making a transition from touch cards to touch-free cards then it does seem necessary that there will be some amount of a transition period. That or else we scale up the model where organizers continue providing touch-free cards to all, which seems somewhat unlikely.

2. For the course-setter, touch-free punching has the benefit of being able to go back to tying controls to existing objects such as trees where available and not having to lug around so many control stands just to support the SI control units.

3. While arguably less significant for foot-O, touch-free punching makes a huge difference in the ease of punching in ski-O and MTBO, where the competitor's hands are already fully occupied. In MTBO it often seems necessary to unclip from a pedal in order to avoid falling over while waiting for the SI to register.
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Dec 29, 2016 6:56 PM # 
kofols:
Very good topic to discuss where fairness starts for recreational orienteers :). The main question here is the price for organizer (system) and orienteers (stick)? Personally I think SIAC is good development for elite orienteers but I would be just fine with the old system. It works.
Dec 29, 2016 7:43 PM # 
JimBaker:
One thing to wonder before investing in fancy SportIdent Air...how soon will it be feasible to use relatively inexpensive beacons (seven bucks each for a few dozen) and inexpensive general purpose mobile devices instead of expensive SI stations and SI cards? One would want ten years' use if investing in a new e-punch technology at significant cost. In five years, will suitable mobile devices be available for the cost of an SI ActiveCard? If so, will it make sense to have invested several thousand dollars (US) for a set of air-compatible SI stations?
Dec 29, 2016 8:28 PM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
After organising an event with SI-Air, I am do not feel the extra work justifies the benefits. These tasks include mass hire and retrieval, programming controls beforehand and deprogramming afterwards, ensuring that unfair punching is not possible from the wrong side of features (and believe me, people try) and inevitably more regular control box battery replacement. And we had to raise the entry fee by $5 to cover hire of sticks.
Dec 30, 2016 1:03 AM # 
gruver:
While I loved using SI-air for MTBO recently, I'm with Log. In fact I go further. We need to de-tech orienteering. Around here people are growing up with punching technology, and (in low-key events) asking "where's the TV screen?".

I'm on a mission for an event type in which participants print out their own maps, meet and put out markers between them, concoct and run a course. Markers fit in the pocket. Timing? FCS we've got more than enough timing on our wrists, and have had since the days of the Casio Accelator.
Dec 30, 2016 1:31 AM # 
JimBaker:
Maybe miniature drones act as controls and automatically place themselves in the forest. No, you said low tech...
Dec 30, 2016 1:32 AM # 
jjcote:
I still have a couple of them Accelators. They might all need new batteries, though.

Who needs markers? You run the course, and download your GPS track to show you went to the control locations. That's tech, but a lot less hassle.
Dec 30, 2016 1:57 AM # 
JimBaker:
For Long, that might work. For Middle, being within thirty meters of the center of the circle may not be enough. (Precision may be higher or lower, but can be that low in the forest with my GPS.)
Dec 30, 2016 2:18 AM # 
jjcote:
Unless you say that for this particular meet, 30 meters is good enough.

It would be a cool way to have a meet at Great Sand Dunes (Dominie proposed this a number of years ago).
Dec 30, 2016 2:27 AM # 
tRicky:
2. For the course-setter, touch-free punching has the benefit of being able to go back to tying controls to existing objects such as trees where available and not having to lug around so many control stands just to support the SI control units.

Uhh... Doesn't SI Air use the same control units?
Dec 30, 2016 2:59 AM # 
walk:
Still use an Accelator as my daily time keeper. Works just fine.
Dec 30, 2016 3:15 AM # 
JimBaker:
Ok, set a date and Great Sand Dunes is on. Definitely an interesting place with great views too. Just the dunes, or the adjacent mountains in the park too?
Dec 30, 2016 3:16 AM # 
JimBaker:
By the way, everyone should carry a tracker for GSD. Heck of a place to lose someone.
Dec 30, 2016 3:42 AM # 
jjcote:
Uhh... Doesn't SI Air use the same control units?

I think the implication was that when you have to put a stick in a hole, there's a custom that the control unit needs to be mounted in a stable manner, but that if you just need to get close to it, it's okay if it has some freedom to swing. (Some of us think it's okay if the control unit is swinging anyway -- it didn't bother us much when we had swinging pin punches.)
Dec 30, 2016 4:15 AM # 
tRicky:
Tell that to the MTBO organisers for the Christmas 5 Days that I'm currently at! Most of the controls are tied to trees. Prior to the use of stands for our local MTBO we'd just hang them from the string that tied the punch to a hanging flag (we're a bit less security conscious in WA).
Dec 30, 2016 4:58 AM # 
jjcote:
MTBO and Ski-O are a different story. I can agree that Sprint requires stands, as well. At the other extreme, for Rogaine, control unit stability is a non-issue.
Dec 30, 2016 8:56 AM # 
GuyO:
...an event type in which participants print out their own maps, meet and put out markers between them, concoct and run a course.

This already exists -- it's called training...
Dec 30, 2016 10:38 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
That dune area looks wild in the standard meaning of the term.
Dec 30, 2016 10:56 AM # 
gruver:
.. its called training. Agree Guy. But around here, the word "training" guarantees almost zero turnout. Suggestions to make it mainstream?
Dec 30, 2016 11:06 AM # 
TheInvisibleLog:
"Suggestions to make it mainstream"- race where you can make up your time.
Dec 30, 2016 12:48 PM # 
tRicky:
Have some kind of Pokemon involved.

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