The SPORTident electronic timing system is used regularly at orienteering events. Instead of competitors carrying a paper control card and manually punching their card at each control they visit, they instead carry an SI-card which they insert into the SI unit at each control. The SI-card records the control number and time visited. After the competitor "punches" the "finish" SI unit at the end of their course, the information on their SI-card can then be downloaded to computer and a printout made showing the controls visited, time visited, split times between controls and total elapsed time. Of course the computer can then tell if the correct controls have been visited and if they were visited in the correct order.
SPORTident and MTBO
Getting an SI-card
Regular orienteers purchase their own SI-cards, but cards can also be hired at events for a small fee.
You can purchase an SI card from www.aussieogear.com
Attach the SI-card to your bike
Just as a control card needs to be attached to your bike, so does the SI-card. However it needs to be on a cord or retractable device so that it can reach the SI unit at each control. These SI units are attached to a metal stand approximately one metre from the ground. The stand will also have the usual orienteering flag and a number denoting which control you are at.
What happens at a control?
When at a control you place the end of your SI-card into the hole on the top of the unit. The unit has a small red light that will flash and/or will emit an audible "beep" so that you know it has recorded your visit. Make sure at least one of these happens otherwise you will be down as missing that control.
What happens if the control unit doesn't work?
Occasionally these units fail. If the light doesn't flash AND there is no sound, there is a manual punch on the control with which you should punch the control card strip, issued/available at registration, to show you've been to that control.
Before you start, Clear and Check
On the way to the start or at the "pre-start" you will see two SI units set up with "Clear" and Check" labels. The SI-cards have a limited memory so they need to be emptied before each event. The "Clear" unit will do this. The "Check" unit comfirms that after clearing, your SI-card is working OK.
What happens if I punch the wrong control?
If you punch an incorrect control this does not matter as long as you do punch all of the correct controls and in the correct order. Any extra controls are disregarded.
When to start?
At Championship events you will be programmed into the event database at a pre-determined start time. At other events you may need to "punch" a "Start" control after receiving your map and heading out on your course.
Was my route better than yours?
The advantage of using SPORTident for competitors is that it provides time splits for each leg which enables competitors to compare route choices and riding performance.