The case against electronic punching   2 comments

Yesterday we organised a local event, in conjunction with a league MTB-O event. As usual, I was asked why we don't use electronic punching. It's a good question – Emit has been in use at national events for over a decade, some clubs are already using it regularly at local events, and the MTB-O league is supposed to have Emit by definition. However…
1. Other clubs have received sets of Emit controls as a gift/donation. We haven't. Yet.
2. Controls get stolen, especially in our area and especially in MTB-O, because of their proximity to tracks. The cost of one stolen control yesterday would have come to half the income from the MTB-O event.
3. The organisational overhead is large. We would need a computer, software preparations, power supply, and so on, while still catering for competitors who use regular punching (there won't be enough Emit cards for everyone).
4. There isn't a system in place for publishing results from local events directly from the Emit system – so they still have to be entered manually.
5. Most important – I enjoy "travelling light" when placing controls. I can jog through the forest carrying 11-12 control flags for hanging, but Emit controls on stands (even lightweight ones, which we don't have) are significantly heavier and bulkier, and make control placing (and collecting) much slower and less enjoyable.

There are the obvious arguments in favor of electronic punching – no need for start times (using a punching start), automatic validation and timekeeping, the ability to plan more interesting courses, and split times. But if you ask me as an orienteer, at an unofficial event: just give me a good map, nice terrain, and a well-planned and properly set course, and you can have coloured pens at the controls for all that I care. And I hope the people who come to our local events think the same.

Posted 08/05/2011 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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2 responses to “The case against electronic punching

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  1. Terje Mathisen writes:We use EMIT for all local training events, but we still "travel light":We only use punching stands for start and finish, on the rest of the controls the EMIT unit is simply hanging from a string, just like the (very!) old hole punches used to do.This makes it easy to carry 15-25 control flags and the emit units and jog around the area hanging out everything.It does mean that we try to select control positions where there's a sutiable tree to hang the flag and punch from!

  2. Anonym writes:there are other systems that might be cheaper but as good as si. like sfr orienteering or learnjoy: http://o-wiki.net/index.php?title=Punching_system

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