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Discussion Forum - Events - Event recording in real-time


Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Sun 22nd Feb 2015, 21:45
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
David, if you'd like an example of the spreadsheet tracker which I use, please email me (address in Strider August 2014 no.129, top left page 76). It offers more detail than your test model but (as carried) is still only paper-based.

Good point is that you compare your progress against one based on projected average speed(s). Bad point is that you can't (yet) adjust it in real time, and I have to remember to record arrival times (I have trouble remembering to do anything cognitive after two nights out on my feet!).

I've used it successfully (the tracker, not my ability to complete hundreds) on four events.

Iain
Author: David Hodge
Posted: Sun 22nd Feb 2015, 13:05
Joined: 2011
Local Group: Sussex
To follow up on Iain Connell's suggestion of some sort of personal tracker. A test of this can now be found at cpme.chekpoint.co.uk, and is a personal progress tracker using data already existing on chekpoint.
If you were on either the Surrey groups WT15 or PBM15 you can enter your own email address, otherwise it displays some test data.
If an event was running it would show your progress on the live event.
Any comments would be helpful.

This will run on anything with a browser i.e. pc,laptop,smartphone etc.
You may have worked out that I am the developer of chekpoint. It started in 2013 with some tests we did in Sussex using a mobile app I had created to use a smartphone camera to capture barcodes and send them to a website. This worked but was too slow and awkward to operate. My overall aim was to keep the cost of hardware down, so using some old windows laptops, rfid card readers and Vodafone/O2 broadband dongles we ran it on the SDM2014. This proved that the concept worked well. Since then it has been considerably improved and as you have read below it was used successfully on the Surrey WT15 and PBM15. It will be used again on the Sussex SDM15 at the end of March.
Author: Iain Connell
Posted: Sat 14th Feb 2015, 20:09
Joined: 2010
Local Group: East Lancashire
Chekpoint sounds like it has a real future as one form of participant recording (I've been on an event which used wrist-band trackers inserted into ground-held readers - a touchcard system looks like a better alternative. If Chekpoint proves to be reliable and robust enough to serve as an alternative to paper recording, might it be released at some future date on license to LDWA, at higher prices than those for own use ? It seems like something that would work for other checkpoint-based events (at which participants stop still for long enough!), not just walking.

One future development might be for participants to be able to store their own progress on a mob or nav device, at the same time as having it recorded by the card readers. I too have been using a system by which I keep track of my schedule between checkpoints, but it hasn't yet migrated to handhelds or tablets.

Iain
Author: Andrew Todd
Posted: Sat 14th Feb 2015, 16:32
Joined: 2010
Local Group: Wiltshire
Been playing with developing something similar as a learning exercise/winter 'something to do'. A reasonable interesting exercise. I now have an android app which will:

Issue tags,
Log tags,
Handle retirements,
Tell a checkpoint how many people it is expecting
Detail where an entrant has been and when
Allow a checkpoint to automatically call other checkpoints
Multiple routes in the same event

Windows app to manage the event
Multiple readers at a checkpoint

Data is automatically synchronized to cloud storage (Dropbox datastore) and hence across devices, and will work offline if a data connections is not available. If anyone is interested in the apk then let me know.

Certainly I think that NFC tag based checkpoints has to be the way to go. The cost of tags (~70p) and the low end android phones with NFC (£80) has made this viable.
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Sat 14th Feb 2015, 12:50
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
As one of the marshals on the PBM I can confirm that the system worked very well. We had the 7” Android netbook, external power source and reader in a small transparent plastic box, sealed (against the weather) with the reader taped to the inside of the box, on one side. The cards were read through the plastic. The mobile wifi unit was in a separate plastic box, placed where reception was best.

The netbook was partially open so the screen could be seen, and when a card was touched on the reader, the entrant number came up in big digits, easily visible through the plastic lid. So the only marshal input was to touch the card to the reader and to check the recording had taken place. As Tony says, we ran the paper recording system alongside (and will continue to do so), but all the necessary information (who hasn’t arrived etc) was available from the netbook.
Author: Tony Cartwright
Posted: Sat 14th Feb 2015, 10:01
Joined: 1978
Local Group: Surrey
This year the Winter Tanners and the Punchbowl Marathon used a new electronic recording system. Developed by David Hodge of Sussex Group, Chekpoint (without a c) uses RFID cards (like Oyster cards or bus passes) issued to each entrant to record their progress in real-time as they move through the event. Event progress is viewable by the event organiser and CP staff and gives both an overall and detailed picture of the events' progress as it happens. We used Chekpoint alongside a much simplified paper backup system.

To realise its full potential a reliable internet connection at each CP is required, although it can operate in a 'local' mode for later upload. Each CP requires a PC of some description (we used 7inch Android Netbooks), a card reader and a means of connection to the Internet. If you are lucky enough to have your CPs located in halls with WiFi then no problem but in the case of the WT and the PBM no direct WiFi was available. We used mobile WiFi units into which we inserted payg Vodafone SIMs to give us the required connectivity. Prior to the events it was necessary to go round the CPs to locate the exact spot to site the WiFi units for best reception.

Setting up Chekpoint is easy. Events and Routes (a list of CPs) can be entered online as can entrants' names. The latter can be done manually although in our case we exported the data from Fabian4 (online entry) and uploaded it to Chekpoint which then facilitates the allocation of the RFID cards and label printing.

The cards, displaying the entrant's name and number, are issued and recorded at Registration in place of conventional paper numbers. On arrival at each CP the card is touched on the reader to record arrival time. This is turn is transmitted to the web and appears on the progress table, available to HQ, to all CPs and indeed to friends and family. Extensive table filters and summary stats enable organisers and CP staff alike to see at a glance the numbers arrived and numbers yet to come at each CP. Retirements are handled in an equally simple manner.

Once finished, Chekpoint facilitates the printing of certificates on the day (Surrey's preference) or allows individuals to email themselves their own certificate when they get home if they so wish. The results are complete and available as soon as the last person is in.

Chekpoint is available to LDWA groups and costs about £80 to use for an event of 400 or so entrants, less for fewer entrants. The cost of the CP hardware depends on what you can borrow or want to buy (David does provide a hire facility).

For us the benefits were less paperwork and a MUCH better control of the event in terms of being able to see its progress in real time. A simplified certificate printing and the results auto-generated with no additional processing required. To achieve this there was some additional admin to do before the event, namely the allocation of RFID cards, printing and sticking labels. Chekpoint makes this easy and the whole process takes about half a day.

Chekpoint is evolving and we believe David is keen to expand its functionality and application.

If interested you can see further details at www.chekpoint.co.uk

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