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Discussion: Missing controls

in: Orienteering; General;

May 22, 2016 3:16 AM # 
This was a first in our part of the world - has anyone else had an SI box removed by police after a concerned citizen reported a suspicious object? (in this instance, an SI box locked to a park bench with an orienteering flag attached).
May 22, 2016 4:24 AM # 
Nearly - at a sprint event on a university campus. tRicky can fill in the details. Apparently he looks really dodgy.
May 22, 2016 5:04 AM # 
I didn't even put it out. I was just running the course at the time.
May 22, 2016 8:02 AM # 
All the more reason to attach a brief card to the flag/ SI box. Suncoast Orienteering's says "Orienteering Marker. Please Do Not Remove." Haven't lost one in four years. (touch wood).
However in Ottawa we did have a shutdown of the area along a recreational path, beside an old railway bridge. The bomb squad was called out to investigate what turned out to be a geo-caching box.
May 22, 2016 8:48 AM # 
People don't read what's on the flag, just like people don't read pre-event bulletins then wonder why they got DQed for breaking the rules.
May 22, 2016 9:11 AM # 
ONSW were putting a generic notice with their units which included a phone number, I think - or web address. A unit went missing before an event, was found by a citizen who on Monday rang the Office and arranged for return of the unit - saving $$$. I think they were given free entry to an event as their interest was triggered and a letter of thanks.
May 22, 2016 11:34 AM # 
tRicky you may be right that SOME people don't read what's on the flag but for sure if you don't put a notice nobody will read it.
Adding a phone number; that's a good idea, thanks.
May 22, 2016 11:45 AM # 
We do have info on our flags; I was just suggesting that some people wouldn't read it if there was the potential for a terrorist threat! Best to call in the bomb squad first and sort out the facts later.
May 22, 2016 9:18 PM # 
Our club generally notifies the local police in advance about our rogaine events, mostly so that they will know what is going on if some concerned citizen phones in with a complaint about people they notice wandering around in the middle of the night on some dirt road. This incident makes it sound like it\s maybe not a bad idea for urban orienteering events, too.
May 23, 2016 12:40 AM # 
Hawkeye, was the SI unit taken to police headquarters for questioning? Has there been a Crimestoppers commercial asking citizens to come forward if they have information concerning suspicious pajama wearing activity in the area? Has a bond been set for release of the SI unit?
May 23, 2016 2:13 AM # 
tRicky - hold your horses - you aren't there yet!
May 23, 2016 2:41 AM # 
tRicky has no horses. He prefers to ride bicycles. :P
May 23, 2016 2:55 AM # 
Well juffy wasn't playing!
And no mention of riding - just holding.
May 23, 2016 2:55 AM # 
Luckily, it wasn't blown up by the bomb squad, and we were able to get it back. I'm not sure if he bomb squad was involved; if not, curious that the police officer should remove it, possibly just to calm the nerves of the concerned citizen.
May 23, 2016 3:05 AM # 
US Gov't official recently declined to comment on the issue of missing controls.
WH representative stated “There are some questions that even the White House press secretary doesn’t have answers to, and this is one of them,” Earnest told reporters at his daily briefing.
May 24, 2016 12:12 AM # 
Fortunately this hasn't happened to an O club (yet?)
May 24, 2016 12:39 AM # 
This may be a reason to start considering alternatives to SI units for epunching. They're quite expensive, look suspicious, and are hard to mount. Beacons may be worth investigating...inexpensive, so one wouldn't worry as much about losing one (or a few), and small enough not to cause concern, likely even small enough not to be noticed in many forests or parks. One could use almost any kind of stake to hold the control, and simply adhere the beacon.
May 24, 2016 12:53 AM # 
'...hard to mount.'

May 24, 2016 1:17 AM # 
I looked a little bit into designing orienteering stands, and making them hold the SI unit is an obnoxious task. Nearly any pole that can be stuck in the ground suffices for holding an orienteering marker, but getting that pole to hold an SI unit, or an SI unit holder, takes a lot more fuss. Many off the shelf stakes would suffice for affixing, say, a beacon, in addition to the marker, but SI units do not appear designed to be mounted on simple stakes. I suspect that they were designed for big events in which stands include horizontal pieces of lumber, but this is not easy for small local events or even hundred person events. SI units are not organizer-friendly, frankly.
May 24, 2016 3:20 AM # 
Okay, maybe I'm just used to our association's equipment, which has always had SI unit friendly flag/stake combinations for as long as we've had SI, even for our local events.
May 24, 2016 3:48 AM # 
We just use zipties and attach them on top of the bag sort of.
May 24, 2016 3:51 AM # 
Or shop at
May 24, 2016 3:53 AM # 
Yeah, but someone spent a lot of effort making those stakes. SI units were not well designed to be mounted on stakes. Buying pre-made SI-ready stakes is expensive, three to ten times what a simple stake would cost.
May 24, 2016 4:25 AM # 
Especially if you bought the steak in a Perth pub as opposed to an RSL on the east coast.
May 24, 2016 4:29 AM # 
The original post was about the Tasmanian system - the SI box is secured in a metal clamp that is bolted onto a corflute O flag. A cable is passed through and the whole unit padlocked to a fence, tree, or seat, or whatever.

In WA we use Scarboro Orienteering's stands, but we have drilled a hole through the t-bar, and a cable passes through the SI box, it's holder and the t-bar, and we then padlock it to some infrastructure as above.
May 24, 2016 2:34 PM # 
This reminds me a conversation I had with one of the organizers of a city-O in Rome, Italy, who when he went to hang a control at a location in proximity of the jewish synagoge, he was approached by soldiers with automatic machine guns guarding the perimeter, who asked him what he was doing. You can see the olive green fenced-in area just a block south of control 18 in this map
May 30, 2016 1:08 PM # 
It has happened before. Use Google translate if you wish (it's in German).
It would seem an elderly lady found the person setting the controls suspicious - or, rather, the vest for carrying the SI stations that that person was wearing. The police removed the control, even though they had been informed of the event.
Jun 2, 2016 12:19 PM # 
At the 2014 Canadian Champs in Whistler there was a small wildfire started on the mountain (probably by a bunch of kids who were smoking up there). The fire fighters took the nearby SI unit and tried to blame it for causing the fire. Never did get that one back.
Jun 3, 2016 12:56 AM # 
A recent media release: The NZ Secondary School Rogaine Championships held on the Port Hills on Saturday 28 May were almost derailed by a bomb scare.
The championships, which began and finished at Victoria Park, used the NavLight electronic punching system by which teams record they have visited a checkpoint. The system entails a torch-like punch that is inserted into a device that competitors wear on their wrists.

All but one of the checkpoints were located beyond urban areas in the vicinity of Victoria Park. One, however, was in small suburban park. The electronic punches were placed in the field on the Thursday preceding the event, but because they intermittently flash as they recharge a neighbour of the park became alarmed by the flashing and called the police to check out if it was a ‘bomb’. The punch was removed by the police on Friday evening and therefore could have jeopardised the fairness of the NZ championship event on the Saturday. Fortunately teams that visited the checkpoint were resourceful enough to realise their map navigation was correct and the checkpoint was missing.

Senior student teams competed over four hours while the junior event was of three hours duration. The winning senior boys team of Callum and Flynn Hill from Whangarei Boys High School notched up sterling effort in almost clearing the course. They scored 2130 points out of a maximum of 2160, missing just one thirty-point control of the total of 50 checkpoints.

Organised by Peninsula and Plains Orienteers on behalf of Orienteering New Zealand and sanctioned by the NZ Secondary School Sports Council, the schools rogaine championships were the third such and the first time they have been held in the South Island.
Jun 3, 2016 1:18 AM # 
If you see something, say something.
Jun 3, 2016 1:33 AM # 
When the terrorists develop a bomb that has no dangling wires or blinking lights, we'll really be in trouble.
Jun 4, 2016 1:30 AM # 
As a small upside, all this fear of blinking lights may mean that consumer electronics stop having so annoyingly many of them.
Jun 4, 2016 2:18 AM # 
Unlikely. After all, television commercials still exist.
Aug 11, 2016 4:23 AM # 

See page 16 for your guide to locking controls. If Boris was the person observed placing the control referred to in the initial post, it's no wonder police were called.

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