I recently trialled on a small event in December and it worked well for some and rubbish for others…. with the biggest issue being user error – hence if you plan to use it – you need to practice.
So all you need to do beforehand is download MapRunF app (don’t download MapRun (no F) – it is the older version)
Open the app when downloaded and select the green circle (menu) with 3 horizontal lines. Select ‘Check Sites’ – enter the map code I will email you after you have entered the event. This will download the map and course to your phone. On the main page you should now see “Sheep2020” underneath the Select Event button.
Clicking the Goto Start button now will bring up the map – overlaid with the course.
- Ensure your ‘location services’ are set to Always ON whilst using the app.
- Ensure you have enough battery! iPhone battery life is poop – so take a powerbank or extender case. The main thing that kills the battery is the screen. So use your map not the app.
- You can (in Options & Settings) set the app to display your present location & track. For the race – these options will be locked. I would suggest you practice with them OFF. You can look at your track afterwards in the bath.
- Ensure you change the default notification noise for the app – something not your standard – so you don’t get a text message and think you have triggered a control.
- Turn the volume up LOUD.
- Pop the phone in a waterproof case
- Practice by setting up your own course (see below)
When you are ready to go:
- Ensure the Start triangle is triggered as you start
- Ensure you don’t trigger the Finish – until you actually finish
- When on course – if the points DON’T trigger – do not run around in circles trying to get it to trigger. Some phone GPS processors can drift and generally not be so good. Better branded phones are generally better. For the race I will correct these missed triggers (I can see your track hence I know you have been there!)
- If you notice drift and you are not triggering the controls you could try running a GPS Widget/GPS Lock app on your phone. These keep the GPS active and should stop the phone from putting it to sleep. My own chinese brand phone does drift even with these things on.
Now currently the course only activates if you trigger the Start which is in Cilcain village hall car park. This is a pain if you want to recce the northern part only. I could have different courses set out but currently would prefer a single one so I can correct issues with it. So my suggestion is that whichever bit you are recceing you drive to Cilcain and trigger the start – you could then drive round to Moel Arthur or Llangwyfan and run from there. When you are finished you can drive back and trigger the finish (and have a cup of coffee in the shop!) Whatever you do though don’t trigger the start and go for a wee as you are likely to trigger the finish – wee first then trigger the start. Else just exit the app if you can’t be bothered coming back.
If you want to get more familiar with the app you can easily set up you own ‘pop-up’ course. Navigate to the green circle with three horizontal lines (menu button). Choose “QuickStart Event”. It pull up a google satellite map (and hopefully your location). Now simply move the map cross hair to somewhere close by you – type S1 in the control id line and click the ‘add’ button. A pink (start) triangle should appear. Then repeat making the first checkpoint (1) then (2) etc. Finish with F1 id (double pink circle). Hit the save button. Give it a suitable name. Now click Select Event, then click Access Local Events (Offline) at the bottom. Scroll to your event and select. (I also recommend going to Options & Settings and changing from Event Type “Scatter” to “Line” i.e. each control in turn.) Now all you need to do is click “Goto Start” – the map will be displayed (satellite) and hopefully a big red splodge for where you are. Get your boots on and go run your course. Note: the red cursor should disappear when you trigger the “Start” control – so make sure you know where your are!!! More tips available at http://maprunners.weebly.com/maprunf—new-user.html
Drop me a mail email@example.com if you have any difficulties. It is likely we can setup on the day as the data signal there is not too bad for most networks now but wifi at home is cheaper.
Background to MapRun
MapRun grew out of another app MyOMaps. It is programmed by a keen orienteer from Brisbane Australia initially funded by the Australian Sports Foundation.
MapRunF is the latest incarnation with several developments – it is likely that this will eventually become the new version of MapRun. It is still under development so may have a few wobbles & bugs (but don’t we all).
I am looking at using the app for checkpoint logging (e-dibbing) & live tracking for longer mountain marathon type races. The majority of these events use SportIdent (SI) electronic dibbers which log the checkpoint ‘dib’ and are downloaded post race to provide a log of the checkpoints visited and timings. There is a ‘cost’ associated with the hire of SI dibbers and there is still the requirement to place (expensive) controls out in remote places on the hills.
The ability to use a GPS e-dibber enables not only the logging and timing of checkpoints but provides live safety tracking data for the safety team to monitor.
MapRunF is not far away from providing all of the above for no (current) cost – which to a 1/4 scottish, 3/4 yorkshireman like me sounds exceptional value!