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Discussion: DIY Orienteering in the Coronavirus Era

in: Orienteering; General

May 24, 2020 6:07 PM # 
I have begun adding DIY courses to the Orienteering USA website on the Permanent Course page. These will include both short-term DIY courses with flags and/or streamers in the woods as well as flag-less electronic courses using UsynligO or O-Range electronic punching.

I'm parsing through various threads here on Attackpoint, but would greatly appreciate any updates or new events sent to me directly (or post a comment on this thread).

Contact details and more info:
May 25, 2020 4:58 AM # 
Categorisation. Once, a "permanent course" meant for us the availability of a map with circles and numbers, and also markers in the terrain. Recently we've subdivided our "Anytime Orienteering" offerings into 1. "Marked Courses" 2. "Virtual courses" (which have nothing in the terrain) and 3. "Maps for download" (which have no circles on the map either). As a temporary measure we're avoiding the term permanent course because it has been used for both 1 and 2, and so is not clear.

One third of our 100-odd virtual courses are on a GPS system (we use MapRun) but I think that's not the most important thing about them - a map with a course may readily be used without a GPS app. Conversely, I've just realised we could put our marked courses onto MapRun - recording a code etched onto a post is really old-hat now:-))
May 25, 2020 10:29 AM # 
Great initiative and very much in line with the trend we see in the the past couple of years with the recent spike in flag-less GPS-based orienteering. That is the future of O-training in my opinion. There are a few apps out there, my favorite is GPS Orienteering. It is available only for Android but its main advantage is the ability to geo-reference a map by pin-pointing two coordinates in the field by recording their GPS coordinates and then the app does the rest of the calculation. In trying a few other apps that only use world files, KMZ, GPX etc. and rely on the original attributes of the map, I found that there will always be some offsets that will end up compromising the accuracy (and then the app punches a control 100 meters from where it really should be...). It might be related to the device or to other factors but this is the reality for me at least.

I'm not sure who deals with that but maybe OUSA should consider defining one "app of choice" so that all clubs could use a unified method. This would have some advantages - working with one vendor to support it, being able to train no matter where you go to in the US without needing to switch apps, having one database of maps, etc.
May 27, 2020 7:14 AM # 
@gruver - Did you get the term "anytime orienteering" from Orienteering Western Australia or are there parallel ideas happening
May 27, 2020 7:26 AM # 
Australia probably got it from somewhere else like we do with all our content.
May 27, 2020 7:37 AM # 
No it was independently thought up here. The question is have others independently thought up the same branding.
May 27, 2020 8:49 AM # 
I noticed Ballarat also uses the term.
May 27, 2020 9:40 AM # 
Orienteering SA has used DIY for a while for permanent courses

And now we also have DIY Mobile Orienteering
May 27, 2020 1:35 PM # 
I thought we thought up the term, but these terms move like osmosis. (I was going to use another analogy but its not popular at the moment:-)) The term is not common throughout NZ but we probably saw it somewhere...
May 27, 2020 2:04 PM # 
@aviadfuchs: Our club is setting up courses using MapRunF - I have played with a few others but settled on this because it best suits our specific needs. Each has it’s our pros and cons. Your comment that there will always be some offsets on the map is very true, regardless of the overall geo-referencing method (two points, Google bounding box (KMZ) etc). The general map may be well placed on an overlay of google earth, for example, but this does not imply the details within the map are also completely accurate.

This is one of the pros of MapRunF in that the control location file uploaded (KML) is separate from the map file. In our use case, the priority is to use paper maps as per normal and use the app for punching, results etc, but not using the small map on the app (which can be made opaque to some degree or blank if you want). When setting the course, overlaying the map and the control locations over Google Earth (or similar) separately provides the opportunity to adjust the coordinates for controls to accurately match the ground location without the need to change the base map - I'm talking about those normal small irregularity's - boulder is 5m north, trail slightly off what the map shows - stuff that has no impact on orienteering with the map in your hand but, Given that a 1mm offset on a 1:10000 is 10 m on the ground, can really impact the GPS punching accuracy. The separation of these two functions allows for adjustments to be made simply from a Google Earth overlay (when not looking down at heavy woods) or on-site collection of waypoints. It is true that using these corrections, if you zoom way in on the app map, the control circle may not be centered perfectly on the control item shown on the map (boulder), but this is not really an issue. Again, I'm talking about small errors but errors that could impact the accuracy of the GPS punching. This does mean a different work flow is needed to set these courses up and this takes some time and experience to get used to.

As a bonus, our members can just upload a normal GPX route from their watch (if they just want to use the paper map) and the results system will validate it as it would if the track was provided by the MapRunF app. We are also providing the XML file for O-Range (for those with compatible Garmin watches). Nice thing is the resulting activity GPX file can then be uploaded as well into the results for the course.

Again, I want to stress that each application has its own benefits so it does depend on the use case and MapRunF fit what we wanted to do. We have also just started with this so lots to learn.
May 27, 2020 2:09 PM # 
Gruver...we, in WA put in a submission for funding and started using Anytime Orienteering in WA in early 2018. Logo etc done mid year and new web pages launched Nov 2018. It was for the reason you identified - you needed a welcoming and all encompassing name that worked for new and existing orienteers which permanent courses didn't. And it now has the bonus to fit actual and digital courses.

Capturing data on downloads has also been very beneficial and interesting.
May 27, 2020 10:10 PM # 
Clint, QOC has set up numerous (about a dozen) BYOM courses, with streamers. All of the streamers, AFAIK, are still up and probably will remain so for a while. If anyone happens to be in the DC area for some reason, email me and I will send you a map.
A few of the courses can be done with UsynligO.
May 27, 2020 10:16 PM # 
Peggy - Any details online at all? I'd love to get some of these on the map so that any newcomers looking for alternative outdoor activities are able to find their way to orienteering. Less for people travelling to DC (at the current time), but locals looking for options..
May 28, 2020 10:39 AM # 
BAOC members have set 9 Corona Courses in the past 2 months and more are in the works. Most are using streamers. See them at
May 29, 2020 7:06 AM # 
We're mining our huge resource of previous courses - and they can be packaged up into "events". With fancy tools or without - self-reporting. This one runs over the weekend, which is a 3-day one for us.
May 30, 2020 1:21 AM # 
Clint, we have nothing online because we don't want to inadvertently entice beginners to go out. The courses are mostly advanced level. So, perhaps not appropriate for your purposes.

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