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Discussion: Course setting and course vetting app for o-meet directors

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Jun 16, 2016 11:02 PM # 
Does anybody know about an app for i-phone or android that opens up an emailed OCAD file, similar to Gaia mapping opening up kmz files?

Disputed controls that have been misplaced would be something of the past and vetting coudl occur when courses are hung.

Also, this could ideally allow course (re)design in the field while hanging controls. Often planned features for control locations need to be changed based on field conditions and other issues, requiring OCAD editing at home afterwards.
Jun 17, 2016 12:44 AM # 
Open Orienteering Mapper for Android opens up OCAD files. There's no iOS version due to Apple terms, which apparently pose problems for open source software. OOM doesn't have much in the way of course setting capabilities, though. You could draft and move control locations, but not efficiently design courses. (Pretty grim for CS.) It may be enough though for what it sounds like you want...a way to capture basic course info in the field, assuming that you're willing to use a laptop to properly draft the courses when back home or in the RV.
Jun 20, 2016 9:41 PM # 
Thanks Jim. That's very useful.
Jun 21, 2016 1:53 AM # 
That assumes that the O-map is georeferenced, which is most often not true. Instead, the course setter should have skills enough to be sure of his location before placing the control flag.
Jun 21, 2016 7:17 PM # 
...the course setter should have enough skills...

Or an experienced vetter.
Jun 21, 2016 7:42 PM # 
Georeferencing a map in Open Orienteering Mapper looks easy, using Google Maps to get the coordinates of a road intersection, selecting that on the map, and looking up the magnetic declination online. I understand that my club has georeferenced many maps.
Jun 21, 2016 7:52 PM # 
@ JanetT

Just to clarify terminology - I think the word vetter is not used consistently.

In Canada the vetter should be doing their checking immediately before the race begins. Their job is to check that the control points are standing and the SI unit is working. At this point in time it is far too late to talking about whether the control is in the correct location, and vettors should never have authority to move the control at all. (they could report that they think it is incorrectly placed I suppose).

Likewise, the Controller (in Canada) is the one that checks that the course planner has put the control in the correct location well ahead of the event - and should indeed be good enough to get it in the correct spot.

(of course, having said that, I've been controller at a national championships and screwed up. But perhaps that was before I was an "experienced controller" and maybe I haven't done this in quite a long time)
Jun 21, 2016 9:29 PM # 
You can georeference whatever you want, but distortions out in the field from earlier mapping technologies can be well beyond an error that an average orienteer would perceive. That is, if

(a) your map was made in the 1980s or 1990s using photogrammetry and pace counting;

(b) your georeferencing (usually done by tying two points around opposite corners of the mapped area) works out to a certain boulder (far away from those corners) being at XXX.XXXXXX,YY.YYYYYY, and

(c) you were to go out and place a checkpoint exactly at XXX.XXXXXX,YY.YYYYYY, then

your checkpoint flag may be tens of meters away from the boulder.
Jun 21, 2016 10:11 PM # 
Sure, the georeferencing won't be precise throughout the map. Relative accuracy is stressed over absolute accuracy in orienteering mapping, magnetic declination changes over decades, and other factors. But even with tens of meters error (which the GPS itself may have) a GPS reading referenced to the map should help identify major misplacements, and, if taken as one piece of information not the only info, in conjunction with reading the map, should be useful for identifying 50m misplacements or even possibly 30m. Not the total tool that @toschwo envisioned, but a potentially useful bit double-checking while placing, controlling or vetting controls (and possibly tired).

In my club in Colorado, America, vetting is done a few weeks ahead based on streamers, in order to find any misplaced controls or other problems with the course. Two nearby countries divided by a common language. ;-)
Jun 22, 2016 12:33 AM # 
@JimBaker - and what is the word used to describe the people that check the controls immediately before the event begins? Gotta try to get terminology straight here on AP ;-)
Jun 22, 2016 1:22 AM # 
I've often used the term "morning vetters".
Jun 22, 2016 5:22 AM # 
I usually call them pre-runners.
Jun 22, 2016 10:58 AM # 
Pre-runners are one kind of morning vetter. But sometimes the morning vetters use a zone approach, each covering all of the controls in a particular area, rather than going around one of the courses.
Jun 22, 2016 11:59 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
This is easy: I use Custom Maps, a free android app which can load a kmz raster output from OCAD course planner. If the original map was too old to be georeferenced I always start my course planning by doing said georef operation on it, using public mapping data as the ground truth.

Tomorrow I'm hosting the last OBIK race this spring, in the same area as we (Nydalens SK) held O-Festivalen last year, and since I've been to the Philippines and Japan last week and only returned yesterday I won't be able to do any checking at all, not even to verify that the control locations are OK. :-(

OTOH I know that this map was re-updated for that huge race last year so all the details on the map will be there in the terrain and in the right spot, so I'll just use CustomMaps to verify each control while I'm hanging out the flags and EMIT units.

I'll probably do this tomorrow morning after printing all the race maps tonight, leaving just the start and finish units for just before race start.

Jun 22, 2016 5:05 PM # 
@jjcote - Even if they're using a zone approach, I still call them pre-runners. I've never used the term "morning vetters." I've always used the term "vetter" for those who check things prior to final map printing.
Jun 22, 2016 5:23 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
With a big meet here in Norway, like O-Festivalen or Sørlandsgaloppen we have between 25 and 40 courses, this is obviously too many to make it possible to have pre-runners for each course!

Last year for both of those events we did checking per zone, with professional printing we really didn't need to actually run each curse in order to check it.

OTOH using a professional printer introduces a couple of additional failure modes, i.e. with the offset separations and the fact that the courses are printed after the map colors. Using OCAD like I just did for tomorrow's event allowed me to print map & course together, less than half an hour for the 5 courses / 165 maps.
Jun 23, 2016 2:19 PM # 
I use "block vetter" for the people who do the last checks before the start is opened. "Pre-runner" to me is doing a course. If we have enough pre-runners we don't need as many block vetters. It's important to emphasize that the point isn't just to turn on the SI units, but to actually catch any problems.
Jun 23, 2016 6:05 PM # 
Problems like controls that have fallen down or gone missing, but at that point almost never issues of whether a control is in the right place.

I prefer the zone vetting approach for the morning of the event, for several reasons, provided there are enough people to do it.

This discussion thread is closed.