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Discussion: A control was placed in the wrong reentrant

in: Raccoongaine (Mar 20, 2016 - Georgetown, PA, US)

Mar 21, 2016 4:21 PM # 
Haven't picked up controls yet, but I am pretty sure 122 was placed in the wrong reentrant. First reported by Brian Mayer at the finish. Course setter placed a ribbon in December, and then provided a course map to the vetter with the circle for 122 drawn on a parallel reentrant to the south of where ribbon was. Vetter reported in February that no ribbon was found and placed a new ribbon (in the different reentrant). The person that was setting controls in that area of the park, also happened to be the course setter, which, from memory, walked right to the reentrant where he remembered placing the December ribbon, and without double-checking the competition map, which, at this time, had the circle drawn on a different reentrant (the one that had the February ribbon).

The error was made in the moment of drawing the competition course using Purple Pen by the course setter by choosing the wrong reentrant to where place the control circle. The incorrect course was then given to the vetter to use in his vetting process.

Sooooo, how to create a better system that reduces such human errors ?

Mar 21, 2016 4:57 PM # 
Could the vetter use a different ribbon colour and inform organizers that the original ribbon wasn't found? Then if the person hanging the flag doesn't find the vetter's ribbon, the control location would need to be confirmed using additional methods - or another person, if possible.
Mar 21, 2016 5:52 PM # 
It may help to never hand draw controls onto maps for vetting or setting, but to always print from software, including descriptions (which should be checked when setting and vetting). Of course, this still requires a relatively stable course file, with careful control of its versions, but it reduces one source of error, hand drawing by memory or copying.
Mar 21, 2016 6:15 PM # 
the one thing that I can think of that would have prevented this, is by marking the GPS location, and then using software like Global Mapper to show where on the terrain the GPS location is. It would have indicated that the GPS location is in a different reentrant than the reentrant chosen to hav e the circle appear on the map
Mar 21, 2016 9:50 PM # 
I certainly agree with all of the above suggestions, and in fact think that all of them should be routinely applied.

It is sufficiently easy nowadays to print out copies of the map and the superimposed course so that never going out in the field for the course-setting or vetting with anything but the most recent version of the printed map (even though it might be an ink-jet copy with slightly less-nice resolution) is an excellent suggestion. Any changes from the original course should then be updated the same day as the original visit, and the previous printed copies destroyed.

And by the way, the event was lots of fun again this year (perhaps more so because we didn't happen to try the particular control with the misplaced marker)!

It would be good to have distinctly different colored ribbons hung both by the course setter and the vetter (probably pink or orange by the course setter, because of better visibility in the woods so the vetter can find the original ribbon easier, blue or green by the vetter, and the control code and event name and date in felt pen, to ensure that your aren't using a ribbon put out by some other unrelated park project, or an orienteering ribbon that inadvertently got left in the woods from an event at a nearby feature a few weeks or even a year earlier).

Carrying a GPS datalogger with a track of your entire route for the day and superimposing the gpx track directly on your map to make sure that it goes through all the checkpoints is better than just entering waypoints at the controls. Firstly because you can't forget to punch a button at one or two of the control points along the way, and then decide it isn't really important to go back and check, secondly as a reality check because you can check that the track is going nicely through other obvious places on the route--say things like trail junctions, stream bends you passed, etc., since that way you can correct for small gradual shifts of up to ten or twenty meters which you may get from your gps unit seeing variations in atmospheric conditions, choice of satellites it is using, etc.
Mar 22, 2016 1:42 AM # 
The solution is simple: Better communication between the setter and the vetter. ANYTIME a vetter does not see a streamer where he thinks there should be, he must discuss this with the setter (so they can determine what's going on) not hang a streamer of his own. It must be determined if:
a) the setter put a streamer in the wrong spot;
b) the vetter didn't find it because he was in the wrong spot;
c) they were both in the right spot but an animal ate it or the wind took it.
If it requires the two of them going out in the field together; so be it.
Mar 22, 2016 5:36 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I have a much simpler (free!) method:

I use OCAD to draw the courses, then I export a KMZ raster file (about 150 DPI is fine) of "All Controls", or as an alternative, a special "Put out the controls" course which minimizes the total distance to reach them all.

I open this KMZ file on my Android phone in Custom Maps, at which point I'll have a moving map marker showing (nearly) where I am at all times.

On each control where I want to place a streamer (or the control itself for a small event) I glance at the phone screen to verify that I am close to the center of the circle. If not, there's probably something wrong here!

I give the same KMZ file to both the controller and to anyone going out to put out or pick up the flags.
Mar 22, 2016 5:45 PM # 
Terje's idea sounds nice. Is Open Orienteering Mapper for Android an alternative, saving the export? Its web site mentions Live GPS display with position marker, accuracy circle and automatic gpx track recording, all of which sound useful for Terje's method. I've tried OOM-Android, but not experimented with its GPS capabilities.
Mar 22, 2016 5:55 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I've used the App called Maplets for several years now on my iPhone when scouting/setting/vetting at some of our more technical venues.

I have to export a map as an image file, and then carefully align it on Google Maps, but once that's done, it's pretty good.

(I actually started using Maplets for the 'Hood Hunts that I used to organize. I didn't use it for vetting, but rather as a way to share the event course with people who wanted to participate with a GPS-enabled device instead of paper).
Mar 22, 2016 6:16 PM # 
Ah, so someone is already using devices instead of paper for navigational events?
Mar 22, 2016 6:43 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Sorta, yeah.

I basically created a series of urban events that were PYOM, that's "print your own map". For the events I did from 2012-2014, I'd publish the course a few days in advance, and you could either print it on paper, view a PDF on your device, or view a GPS-enabled course map on Maplets.

Before discovering Maplets, I used the SCVNGR app. It just used Google Maps as a basemap, but the draw was that I could build the game (I could assign trivia questions to specific locations and the game could be scored). SCVNGR isn't supported anymore; in with a bang, out with a whimper.
Mar 22, 2016 7:33 PM # 
Did many people use devices instead of paper?
Mar 22, 2016 7:46 PM # 
News Flash: this just in.

A team submitted their GPS track data, and explained that they got lucky and saw the control flag from the trail and went for it. The red color clearly shows where they stopped to punch. Definite proof that the control was in the wrong reentrant.

Mar 22, 2016 9:14 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
@JimBaker: OOM might indeed work as well as CustomMaps, the big advantage of CM is that the app itself is very small, and as soon as you have installed it and click on a KMZ file (maybe an email attachment) your phone will ask if you want to open it in CM.

Having to install OOM would be a somewhat larger hurdle.
Mar 22, 2016 11:26 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
On my best days, I log my streamering and QuickRoute after, and time permitting, I do the same on the setting (for the far off trail flags) if I can get home before I need to print maps.

On a micro level (since drift is enough to be wrong in some of our busier areas) I try to walk through a wrong feature either on the way to or back from some point (eg, two ditches, be sure to visit and left and right).

Also I cheat and find as many features with point features in them, thankfully our point feature availability is such that I won't be burned by a 1.2 m mapped and 0.8 m unmapped boulder or anything.

Does that make you around 199/200 for Raccoongaine? I'd go again with those odds (injury status permitting of course)
Mar 23, 2016 1:17 AM # 
yes Mr Wonderful, the odds of a good controls is 199/200. We missed you. Tell the lovely Michigan people that their posse of out-of-state really is creating an impact wave upon arrival. You got a good crowd out there. I'll try to make it to those parts and check out those glacial retreat terrains that everyone talks about.
Mar 23, 2016 1:55 AM # 
I hope the results of this event were scrapped because of this atrocity. Any other outcome is unthinkable.
Mar 23, 2016 3:04 AM # 
Moreover, lawsuits (moral damage, cost of lost opportunity, etc. ) are pending. Organizers are not in denial, which is good, likely will settle
Mar 23, 2016 12:46 PM # 
we will refund all gasoline costs, hotel/motel costs, airline tickets, babysitter costs, and mental distress/medical costs, psychiatrists and therapy sessions.

This discussion thread is closed.