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Discussion: Maze-O (with new e-punch question!)

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 21, 2019 11:49 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Hi!

For the past three years, CascadeOC has participated in a large summer festival (30k -45k people). We're one of a gazillion things going on, and previously, we've held a full-scale race (75-minute score-o) as well as a short demo course. Because our activity strays away from the ballfields and parking lots and into the forest, we don't get as many participants as I think we could be getting, so I'm thinking of other ways to engage visitors that stop by our tent.

So I'm thinking of a maze-o, the kind with stakes, streamers, and e-punch boxes.

I've only participated in one myself, and it was a long time ago (fundraiser at a national meet in California, ~10 years ago I think?).

For those of you who have organized them, or participated in a lot of them... what works and what doesn't work? What's a good size? How large should the grid be? Pathway width? What are ideal building supplies? How many controls? Point-to-point or freestyle?

I'd like the maze courses to be pretty short (less than 30 seconds), and I don't want to spend a ton of time to set it up. We'll be at the festival for 7 hours, so I think I'd like to have multiple courses throughout the day to encourage people to come back later.

Any thoughts and feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Feb 22, 2019 4:00 AM # 
andreais:
check out Go4Orienteering.org, not with streamers. very simple setup, 6 levels of difficulty for most of the games. Downside may be that many of the interesting layouts need 36 e-punch boxes. But some of the games can be done as 2 or 4 way elimination races, with equal-length-symmetric layouts
Feb 23, 2019 8:43 PM # 
PhillipH:
The link below is the maze we use for promotional type events. It doesn’t take a lot to setup but we also commonly use ones half this size at school events as well. The example has 2 courses each of which is mirrored to give 4 total. I don’t think you need different levels or to change courses during the day as you will find they keep coming back to try and beat there time ( or someone else’s ) anyway. Because of the different variations a maze this size will easily hold 30 people at once. The distance between the controls just varies with the amount of space you have.

www.o-lynx.com\software\mazeall.pdf

For a public event, if possible put a tape around the outside so that entry is only from one end. This will help keep control of your chips so they don’t wander off. If using software like OE you just need to have someone with their finger on the enter button to override the ‘this chip has already been used message’. For O-Lynx I put in a special maze mode where it will just overwrite the last use automatically so someone doesn’t have to be watching the screen. It also has a course matching function that helps a lot as chips dont have to be assigned to specific courses.
Feb 24, 2019 3:35 PM # 
Delyn:
Grid-O for more similar ideas.
Mar 1, 2019 6:22 AM # 
DWildfogel:
Patrick, Tori Borish set up an actual Maze-O (as opposed to Grid-O) for us when BAOC hosted the US Nationals in 2016, so you might check with her.
Mar 8, 2019 1:04 PM # 
Platterpus:
OLOU has held about 5 or 6 of these so far and we are still trying out things. We have designed different shapes that include posts and streamer. So far, everyone seems to love the Mazes. A Typical Maze might take about 45 mins to set up and we use E-Punches. I would rather see something else rather than all those e-punches but have not really come up with anything. I do like the Grid-O and the Lynx methods listed above for simplicity. Although having an actual Maze with walls would be even better (like a mini Corn Maze). One of the advantages of using these Mazes is for visibility and increased participation. If we have been invited to rent a table and hand out brochures about Orienteering(Kind of boring), having the maze option encourages a lot of participation by all age groups.
Jul 11, 2019 4:02 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Hey everyone, thanks for the feedback here and those of you who emailed me several months ago. I have a maze design, course design, and supplies to build it! The festival is on Saturday.

Ok, now my question... how to best use e-punch.

All I want is a way to:
a) get a valid elapsed time
b) re-use the same stick (or small set of sticks) for everyone

I don't care about names associated with the results. I won't be printing results. I don't necessarily need to print out splits. My plan is to have a dry erase board with the best times of the day written on it and I'll update those manually as they happen.

My club typically uses Sport Software, and as I understand it, there may be an issue with re-using the same SI stick over and over.

Process-wise, I'd like something like this:

Alice clears & checks SI stick #123456
Alice punches start, punches controls #101 through #107, punches finish
Alice downloads
Person at e-punch sees a result (either elapsed time or mispunch) and announces result.
Alice gives the stick to Bob.

Bob repeats the process, and then gives stick to Courteney, then David, etc.
Jul 11, 2019 4:18 PM # 
Sandy:
Set up the event in OE as usual. Enter a bogus person with stick #123456.
Alice runs and downloads and gives the stick to Bob who clears the stick.
Bob runs and downloads and when the software asks if you want to overwrite the info for that stick just say yes.
Repeat.
Jul 11, 2019 4:45 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Oh, that was easy.

(I made a decision long ago to focus my efforts on mapping, course design, and event direction, and not on the timing systems, haha.)

Thank!
Jul 11, 2019 4:56 PM # 
Sandy:
Not that you asked, but...

There is a log file for the download window so all the downloads will be recorded and can be retrieved. I was thinking if people were signing up and you had a list of their names in the order they ran, someone could take the excel file of the download log and recreate who did what after the fact. Doesn't sound like something you're interested in, but just wanted to mention that the data from all the downloads isn't lost, it's just not recorded for results printing, etc.

Also, if you have more than one maze course, just have different sticks for the different courses and enter them into OE so that stick #111111 is assigned to course 1, stick #222222 is assigned to course 2, etc. and then you just have to make sure people take the right stick for the course they're going to do.
Jul 11, 2019 5:08 PM # 
origamiguy:
Remember that SI-11 sticks will not record a punch until they stop flashing, five seconds after the previous punch. Not usually a problem in regular orienteering, but I would think MazeO controls could be close enough to be a problem.
Jul 11, 2019 5:16 PM # 
cedarcreek:
OCIN has reused chip numbers a lot because people are allowed to run additional courses. What I do is create entries for each runner, but only fill in the chip number for the first one (for each chip number). That is, leave chipno blank for repeated entries. When the runner downloads, and when OE2010 asks to overwrite, say no. In OE2010, this creates an entry at the bottom of the Read Chips window with that "reserve" chip. Click the lower refresh button to have the window update entries from the database, then sort by name or by chipno.

Sort by name is obvious---find the name, and click the button to write the reserve chip to that entry. It's best to not let more than one reserve chip accumulate. When you click the button, both the reserve chipno and the name should be highlighted. Just verify the highlight if you have more than one chipno in reserve.

I usually sort by chipno and then scroll to the top to see entries with no chip number. They're usually arranged by start number or entry order. But again, highlight the entry name and verify the reserve chipno is highlighted, then click the button to associate the chip to that entry.

Once you have clicked "Don't overwrite" some (seemingly) random number of times, OE2010 figures out to stop asking to overwrite and just starts putting the repeated chips into reserve without you having to confirm. If this is a setting I can click, I'd love to know how. Right now I just go five/ten/??? chips until it stops asking.
Jul 11, 2019 9:07 PM # 
cedarcreek:
Also---just in case and especially for those who aren't familiar with OE2010:

If you have one chip with multiple uses, you need a separate entry for each runner (or team). Each line in the results is a separate entry in "Entries".

Also, (same caveat):

The different windows in OE2010 access a database in a strict way. If you modify an entry in the "Entries" window, you have to save it to release it back to the database so other windows (like Read Chips) can use it. I mention this above: You create an Entry with no chip number, hit save, then switch to the "Read Chips" window and hit the lower (or upper) refresh button so the window gets updates from the database.

This is really obvious for geeks or people who use older database software, but for people who are used to very easy-to-use software, it can be maddening.
Jul 12, 2019 12:36 AM # 
GuyO:
OE could definitely use more user-friendliness...

With Oŕ, handling multiple uses of the same SI# is automatic. Why OE insists on a complicated process for a common occurrence is beyond me.
Jul 12, 2019 4:44 PM # 
jSh:
Specifically for reusing chips, I recently devised an intermediary software that reads a chip, then simulates a readout-station towards competition software but fakes the chip-number to a value based on time of day and day of week. Thus you don't preassign any chips in software, always receive the unknown chip message, and can handle either start-numbers or name-to-reserve matching as described above.

Worked well for a ca. 1000 kids on a "ninja warrior" type parcours three weeks ago.

Older version of that software was previously used to merge two SIACs at WSOC in Sweden, so it's out of alpha stage and in late beta, I'd say ;)

Anybody interested in using please contact me by mail for further details.
Jul 15, 2019 10:02 PM # 
mikeminium:
For school groups, when kids run a second or third course, when I enter the name and class, I enter the last 2 or 3 digits of the chip number (instead of either entering the whole number or leaving it blank). That way, when the kid finishes, I don't have to ask a name, I can just match the chip to the reserve punch and assign it. But that might have a hard time keeping up if you had a group of 1000...

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