Frequently asked questions
Navigation control questions
Track control, or, in other words, navigation control is a set of actions aimed to verify the participants' track along routes designed by organizers at the event. Basically, navigation control service ensures that all the participants went through all their special stages cutting and according to the correct order regardless of whether the navigation errors were intentional or not. To ensure the control fairness and equal conditions for everyone involved each vehicle and ATV gets equipped with special navigation devices, so called "track loggers". These devices are GPS-receivers with track recording function, meaning that they are able to record series of points linked to time and some additional parameters (e.g. speed). This data helps to verify if vehicle or ATV really passed the specified route. Besides, the data obtained from devices can be only downloaded without any external changes made manually, which ensures their authenticity. At the end of each competition day after finishing the special stage all participants, download their tracks in the camp at Navigation Control post. After that, the data is being analyzed with analysis result being sent to Secretariat to include them to the scoring. Tracks are downloaded and analyzed every day and participants can review their results on the next day (and in fact even at night).
There is no universal recipe, but usually one needs 2-3 navigation devices. Usually it is a device with maps (e.g. Garmin 276c or its equivalent) for the driver, and water- and shock-proof tablet or laptop to the co-driver. Participants also take a spare device like a hand-held navigator with replaceable batteries; it also helps the co-driver in finding the track points outside the vehicle. ATV drivers usually use 1-2 handheld devices, as far as ATVs are more demanding towards device water resistance.
The best device is usually the one that you know how to use it. In addition, the list of criteria does not contain anything special. The device must be dust-and water-resistant. The device must connect to satellites quickly at any location wherever you are located; otherwise, you have to use an external antenna. A so-called on-the-road navigator poorly fits as far as they usually are lacking sufficient protection and suitable software. However, sometimes they are also used if you manage to run appropriate software for orienteering out in the woods. Nevertheless, good old Garmin is very difficult to replace. In addition, in addition to hand-held and in-car devices protected laptops or tablets are used. As for software, usually OziExplorer and Garmin Mobile PC are used, and Androzic, which is quite similar to Ozi Explorer for Android devices. Of course, these lists far not complete.
This is a device based on GPS-receiver with track recording function and some internal memory to store it. The track cannot be faked, as devices allow only reading data from internal memory - this is the way to check the crew's track at the special stage.
Currently we use Garmin E-trex 10. It is self-powered by two AA batteries and allow up to 24 hours of operation time.
The device will turn off; the track will not be recorded. Therefore, the participant will be penalized for all missing checkpoints, but not more than a so-called normative time.
"Checkpoints" or simply "points" is a set of points on the landscape participants pass at special stages. This set of points is a subject to be verified by navigation control service. Participants have to approach each checkpoint as close as possible and get to 50-meter radius from the center of the checkpoint.
The points are uploaded at registration during administrative checks. They can be uploaded directly to your navigation device or to your memory stick - in this case, you can copy them to your device yourself. Files are available in .wpt (Ozi) or .gpx (Garmin) formats. In addition, you can upload them in the camp at navigation control post during the service operation hours.
In most situations, you do not need a backup device. Nevertheless, some participants prefer using it to ensure that they are safe from device failures. Duplicate Organizer's track loggers can be installed, if there are any left after the registration. In this case another returnable deposit has to be made.
These devices record your track only. They do not transmit your location.
Electronic chip is a special device to record the time of an event. In our case, it is start and finish of the participant. It is a small piece of flexible plastic with memory chip and RFID interface inside and an elastic band for fixing to the finger.
To record the time it is necessary to place the chip to the station for fixing the time necessary to bring it to a control station and press the button on the station. Beep confirms that the time has been recorded.
A chip gets power supply from the control station that induces an electric current in the chip antenna chip. A zero-power memory is used to store all the recorded data.
Every day after completing a special stage the participant should arrive to the navigation control post at the base camp and let officials download their track for further analysis and transfer of the processed data to the secretariat. The procedure is carried out in a queue. Remember: all the tracks should be downloaded immediately after the finish. After 9 a.m. the next day after the start of the special stage, your track from that special stage will not be accepted and the special stage will not be scored for your crew.
As far as a "track logger" is sealed to the car or ATV, you must somehow deliver your vehicle to the navigation control service. No matter who will do it - driver, co-driver or the crew representative. Please note that it is prohibited bringing vehicle or ATV by carriage or car transporter. If seal is broken, the special stage result will not be scored.
Navigational control service does not have any operational information about the crew location. Nevertheless, we can give SS coordinates where presumably the crew could get lost to parties in interest. Generally, it will not help too much if you do not have a specially prepared vehicle - it is not reasonable getting to the special stage by standard car. We consider that it is much more reasonable to let the crew take their time and get out from location themselves.
If a crew has skills and experience with navigation devices, they should not face any issues of that kind. Nevertheless, these issues happen from time to time. For example, unstable satellite connection due to unfavorable weather conditions, or if devices are damaged. After obtaining waypoints, it is reasonable to double-check them with the road-book if this is the right set. Remember: you can always get waypoints again in the base camp.
It depends on the reason. For example, if the participant did not replace batteries in the device in time, or did not come to download tracks until 9 a.m. the next day after the start of the special stage, or simply did not turn the device on prior to start at the special stage - it is the crew's fault, and their result at SS is not scored. Of course, devices are not perfect and fail by reasons not depending on the crew's actions - each case like this is investigated carefully and individually. We do not penalize the crew if there are no doubts that they are playing fair game.
Most modern specialized navigation devices are waterproof and sealed, and do not require any action to be taken in such cases. In any case having a backup device stored in a waterproof container (with the first-aid kit, for example) is more than reasonable. As you remember, we have mentioned consequences of using ordinary car navigators above.
Our devices that serve as "track loggers" are sealed, or set in a semi-hermetic (waterproof) package. Nevertheless, it is desirable to place it at the place least affected by environment, but this place should allow the "black box" to be able to connect to satellites efficiently.
Yes, they are fully sealed and waterproof.
First, we need to choose a location for the device where it would be protected from adverse environmental factors (water, high temperature, etc.) and at the same time had a maximum radio visibility. One of the most typical places is next to a windshield, usually by the co-driver's side. You should prepare a place for fixing it in advance. Somewhere close to this place, an integral element is the body must be located - the device is always sealed to it. Usually, M10 nut welded to roll cage or rack in a convenient location is enough. It is also desirable to have a plug nearby if you will get a "track logger" with external power supply (cigar socket or just 12V GND wires)..