The 2011 New Zealand National Championships was one of the main drivers behind the development of the O-Lynx radio system. This blog is just to summarise some of the technical areas covered by the O-Lynx related gear. The O-Lynx radio units formed the basis of the system but in order to be useful this needed to be combined with supporting software i.e. the O-Lynx Event and O-Lynx Results programs. The radios and software allowed the following functions to be provided…
Speaker / Commentator support.
Geoff Morrison along with Duncan Morrison were doing the commentary for the nationals and the O-Lynx Results software was used so they could update spectators with race information as competitors went through the various radio controls including instant finish times. The Control monitor screens were mainly used for this as they gave the name, grade and position as each competitor went through the radios. The punch history was also usually displayed as it shows a list of all punches as they happen and so provides a way to quickly look back and see more than just the last 3 competitors. A laptop and one 22” screen were used for the commentary position, with a WIFI link back to the radio computer that acted as the server for all the information.
Up-to-date Results information
I was very grateful to a HBOC club member that managed to provide 4 x 37″ LCD Screens for the event and so a video wall type setup was made to display the days results. These screens were set up on a stand with 2 screens each side. One side for the womens classes and one side for the mens. Pre-nationals a new course results window was added to the O-Lynx Results software that showed the just the position, overall time and time difference behind the winner for each competitor so as many classes would fit on the screens as possible. An auto-scroll function was also added to handle lists of competitors didn’t fit vertically on the screen. The 4 large screens handled the 33 classes on the sprint OK, but for the long distance two 22″ screens were set up as well, as the number of classes increased to about 47 with the AS, B and C classes. The overall results windows were set to update every 30 seconds so spectators could see almost instant changes to placings as competitors finished. A desktop PC was used with 3 graphics cards that allowed up to 6 screens to be plugged in. The wireless router that provided the WIFI links was also part of the video wall setup along with a UPS to not only provide surge protection but also provide continuous power when power leads were changed or generators refilled. If you are planning this sort of setup keep in mind the WIFI links between computers can be quite limited so keep tents within 50m of each other. It also helps to keep the wireless router up high as crowds of people can further limit the range.
Thomas Reynolds also has a photo of the results screens at the Sprint at http://thomasreynolds.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/nz-orienteering-nationals-2011-sprint/
These were printed from predesigned report templates in the main O-Lynx Event software. As I was unsure of the load this could put on the radio computer I used a separate laptop for this, just to be safe. A Fuji Xerox S-LED colour laser type printer was used at the events. This printer had the advantages of being quite small and with quite low power requirements. The thick card (240 gsm High Gloss Photo Paper ) was a bit beyond its specs but it seemed to handle it OK. Printing the certificates at the events allowed accurate, good looking certificates to be produced at a reasonable cost. It is still quite a time consuming job and each class needed to be done as the final results came in ( Thanks to Pamela Morrison for keeping me feed with official results ) to avoid a log jam just before the prizegiving ( which I found is pretty hard to achieve ).
Examples of the certificates can be seen in some of Norm Jagers photos at https://picasaweb.google.com/Norm.Jager/ONationals2011SilvaAwardsLongPrizegiving24April#