Setting Courses with iPad using “Map&Compass” software.

Filed under: Latest News by Joseph on February 4th, 2014

BOK purchased an iPad mini so we could use the orienteering and ARDF software “Map&Compass” to help with course setting.  I tried it out while setting the courses for our upcoming Feb 9 event at Umstead.

The bottom line is:
This tool makes course setting significantly easier and will give “first time” course setters the confidence to set courses for the club.

Charles Scharlau developed the “Map&Compass” software so people could practice ARDF and Orienteering courses without having to set controls out in the woods.  Ironically, it is a wonderful tool for placing controls in the woods. All of our club’s maps are loaded on the BOK iPad mini, so we can use it to help with any of our events.

First you put the software into “Design” mode, set the crosshairs on the location for the control, and tap the icon to set the control on the map.  After you have set all the controls on the map you are ready to go into the forest and hang controls.  When you are in the woods at the start of your course for setting controls you change the software to “Run” mode and the “I am here” icon shows you where you are on the map.  A thin line shows the direction to the next control, and the display shows the distance you have traveled and the distance you have left.  Controls you need to set are shown in Red and the ones you have finished are shown in Green.

The accuracy isn’t perfect.  Ruth and I set about 35 controls for next Sunday’s event and the accuracy ranged from exactly right to about 30m off.  Usually it was within 10 meters.  This could be explained either by the GPS accuracy or the location of the features on the map.

If you are interested in setting controls for an event but don’t have the confidence to be sure you are setting them accurately then this should give you the help you need.  If you find that setting is way to slow because you have to double and triple check locations then this will speed you up considerably.  I also found it was helpful to practice map visualization because when you know where you are you can identify the features around you with accuracy.  The battery life was over 4 hours, so there is plenty of time to set a group of controls.

This is a club iPad and was purchased to help with control setting, so if you want to try it out let me know and we can arrange to get you started.  If you are orienteering at the “advanced” level then this should give you the confidence to set courses.  Don’t leave all the work to just a few of us.  Chip in and help out — there is no excuse now.

Joseph Huberman


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