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Discussion: placing controls

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 12, 2016 9:30 PM # 
For tomorrow's event, we're not allowed to use stakes due to fossils (or we could pay 25 dollars an hour for a ranger to approve each site). So, I had to set out hanging controls. I wanted, ideally, a way to stack the SI units in order of placement on a cord or rod, in a way that kept them from falling off but made it easy to remove one or two at a time. And I found something that worked well. A charging cable for my Samsung phone no longer made good contact, so was trash, but I hadn't thrown it out yet. The cable's micro USB end was just the right size to thread through the hole of an SI unit with a slight tug, but wouldn't let the unit come off by itself. The normal USB end was big enough to hold the units on, even with the cord held vertically. This worked quite well. I designed a Placement course in Purple Pen, verified that it contained all controls using one of the reports, threaded on the units in order, then double checked them. In the field, I had the units and controls in a backpack, and would pull off an SI unit (or two for certain controls), verifying it against the control descriptions, grab a control, and hang. When units and markers are on stands, it's not such a problem, but it's nice to know that it can be easy to place hanging controls too, without one of those belts for SI units that look so awful.
Aug 13, 2016 1:02 AM # 
KISS - Don't over think it. Get a length of cord. Tie the last to be placed as the anchor. Feed the others on in order ensuring a reasonable length of cord extends out and stuff the lot in a backpack with control flags. Go hang.
Aug 13, 2016 10:16 AM # 
Would the wire in the USB cord have any effect on SI sensor? I wouldn't want the electrical cord to activate the SI unit and shorten the battery life. Seems a non-conducting cable (rope) would be better.
Aug 13, 2016 10:49 AM # 
I didn't hear the units beep, nor notice any lights. I think that there's a complicated back and forth protocol between the unit and the dibber. I don't think that a cord would have the same effect. But maybe someone who knows the units' operation in detail could opine.
Aug 13, 2016 11:11 PM # 
It's just a wire, not a magnet.
Aug 13, 2016 11:50 PM # 
but JJ, you can make a wire into a magnet :-)
Aug 14, 2016 12:19 AM # 
Since the wire didn't form a loop/closed circuit, and also was linear not a coil, I don't think that it would make a very good magnet.
Aug 14, 2016 12:47 AM # 
Depending on length (assuming reasonable conductivity) could make a decent antenna resulting in RFI (unit issues possible but unlikely given shielding built into the newer units)
Aug 14, 2016 4:06 PM # 
I'm with Walk - I've been using a length of rope, knotted at one end, for many many years. Usually I just have it in the bag with the flags, in which case the long end of the rope is easy to find. Sometimes I like to sling the rope over my shoulder. So versatile ;-)
Aug 14, 2016 5:20 PM # 
Get the SI vests, worth their weight in gold.
Aug 14, 2016 5:26 PM # 
I used to use an SI belt, but it's not very wearable in public. A vest might look even worse.
Aug 14, 2016 5:48 PM # 
Yeah - no kidding ;-)
The nice thing about the rope is that it works as a quadrupple check...

1. you must layout the controls before you start in the right order (so you don't miss any, and any left over SI fire alarm bells)
2. when you are at the control the next SI on the rope must match the control you're at
3. when you are leaving a control the next SI on the rope must be the next control you're going to
4. when you're finished you should have zero SI left

The vest and belt might be almost as good, but the forced sequential ordering of the string is invaluable imho
Aug 14, 2016 8:42 PM # 
Just chuck them in a back pack and pull the one you need at each control site.

Yes check and double check you have the right ones to put out before you head off. It isn't that hard to check the number of the control at each site that you need belts, strings or whatever! Putting out controls is not a race.
Aug 14, 2016 9:22 PM # 
What a waste of time & frustration ;-)
How many do you have to look at in your bag before you find the one you need? Tension growing each time you pick one that isn't the one you want. Way too long. The speed of the string (plus the other four benefits) really make the string much better than tossing in the backpack.
But it probably depends mostly on the type of person you are - Type A or not
Aug 14, 2016 10:35 PM # 
I'm with Adrian on sequentiality. Even when I used the belt way back when, I ordered the units, so that they came off the belt in order (and I'd rotate the belt so that the next unit was in front).
Aug 14, 2016 11:09 PM # 
Actually, the string or similar really is not a bad idea. Considering the number of times I have missed a control and had to go back, or put in the wrong one (for example 58 instead of 53) because the number on the master map was in a busy area and I didn't check it closely enough.
Aug 15, 2016 5:10 AM # 
I use a backpack and I put them in the reverse order of how I'm putting them out, the same as you seem to be doing with the rope. It's not hard. Sure you might have to look at two before you get the one you want (if they get a bit jumbled) but at least if you change the distribution order out there, you don't have to take them all off the rope.
Aug 15, 2016 6:48 AM # 
How long is a piece of rope tRicky?
Aug 15, 2016 7:09 AM # 
How many SI bricks are on it?
Aug 15, 2016 7:20 AM # 
Uncle JiM:
Doesn't Tooms mean a piece of string ;)
Aug 15, 2016 2:20 PM # 
It sounds like the only difference between Jim and walk/AZ is in what type of string they're using. Jim found a handy piece of string that would otherwise have gone in the trash, that just happened to be a piece of retired cell phone gear.
Aug 15, 2016 8:41 PM # 
The only difference in the "strings" is that mine had just the right size thing on the end to keep units from coming off by themselves in my pack, but easy to put on or take off with a slight tug. AZ and walk opine that that's not a problem.
Aug 15, 2016 11:45 PM # 
Not if you know how to tie a knot ;-)

(I use a fairly thick rope by the way - a bit of discarded climbing rope). I've been accepting the "string" label, but realise now that gives a pretty false impression)
Aug 15, 2016 11:52 PM # 
Jim's talking about the other end, AZ. The big end is easy, but the micro USB plug is a very convenient size that's just barely smaller than the hole.
Aug 16, 2016 12:26 AM # 
Ahhhh! That makes more sense ;-)

Well, then he might have a point. I just use a long rope, but that is a slight pain sometimes since pulling the SI unit over four feet of rope is a minor annoyance. On the other hand, that four feet is easy to leave dangling out of the bag. I can't believe I'm writing so much about this. Jim - what a crazy thread !!
;-) I'm going back to wasting my time watching the olympics
Aug 16, 2016 12:43 AM # 
That's just what I'm doing right now.
Aug 16, 2016 12:59 AM # 
It's just that certain type of thread that sucks the time...

Actually, the microUSB is slightly larger than the SI hole, but the rubber housing is malleable enough that a tug pulls it through. This is the useful characteristic. (But, with the end hanging out of the bag, maybe it's not a big deal.)
Aug 16, 2016 9:57 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I use hanging EMIT units for pretty much all the races I organize, I usually set it up by making a special "hang out the controls" course, then I load the units into a two or three map bags, starting from the last control. I also print out that special all controls course using control codes instead of control numbers.

Finally I export the control map as a Google Earth KMZ file and send it to my cell phone with Custom Maps.

This achieves the important aspects: It's easy to pick the correct unit, the cell phone display shows that I'm in the right spot, and the map display shows the control code so I can be absolutely sure the code is correct.
Aug 16, 2016 1:48 PM # 
Hey TM - that sounds pretty cool. I'm not 100% clear on what maps you end up with. Is this right:

1. printed map, showing your special course with control codes
2. something on your iPhone. What is that, and what app are you looking at? Does it also have the control circles & codes, or just a track?
Aug 16, 2016 1:51 PM # 
I've begun to use my iPhone more when picking up controls since I lost my map after the Whistler COCs (how careless is that????). But luckily remembered that the courses were on RouteGadget ;-)

It is really great. Now I load a PDF of the courses / all controls map. Great for picking up controls, putting out controls, checking mis-punches.
Aug 16, 2016 2:31 PM # 

OCAD exports raster KMZ which is properly georeferenced and works pretty well with Custom Maps.
Aug 16, 2016 3:29 PM # 
Ed Hicks was tellling me about exporting the OCAD map as a geopdf and than using an App called Avenza to view it on your phone. I haven't tried it yet and not really sure about the geopdf export in OCAD because that doesn't appear as one of the export options.

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