MapRun6

MapRun6 is a smartphone/smartwatch app for orienteering, developed in Queensland and used around the world for competitive events, training, and permanent courses.  MapRun6 is GPS-based, and removes the need to put out a physical marker.  In Victoria, we use MapRun6 for our Park Street orienteering events all over Melbourne, in Geelong, the Surf Coast, and Mornington Peninsula. Find out more about Park Street orienteering.

MapRun6 combines the fun of using a map to navigate around streets and parks in your local area, with GPS based technology which is easy to use, in a friendly, social competition that gives your body and brain a great workout.

Have you been hesitant about using your phone to orienteer?  Uncertain about how it all works?  Read on – if your question is not answered here, contact us by email.  If you’d like to try it for yourself, simply come along to one of our events, and give it a go!

Quick answers to common questions:

  • YES – we always provide a map, on paper. You don’t need to navigate by looking at your phone screen. Once started, you can put the phone safely away in a pouch or pocket, and concentrate on enjoying the outdoors and the physical challenge.
  • NO – you don’t need to carry a phone around the course.  There are several alternatives, eg using a MapRun6 compatible watch, uploading your route from Strava, or using a control card.
  • YES – if there is a technology issue, we can resolve it! We have experts on hand at every event, to help you with any problems.

Download MapRun6 from your phone’s App store.

The MapRun website also has a large amount of information for participants, course planners and organisers.

For more detailed answers to common questions, continue reading below.

How does MapRun6 work?

A course is planned using a regular orienteering map and course planning software.  The course planner decides where to position the controls, and marks these locations on the map. A “kml” file is created, which uses the GPS coordinates of each control to generate a series of “map pins”.  The kml file is uploaded to MapRun6, to create an event, along with the map name and the date of the event.

Like physical controls, a pin can be placed on any object such as a light pole, street sign, fence corner, tree, etc.  Each pin is a virtual control – there is no physical marker.  However, your phone or watch will “beep” when you are at the control, and display the control number.

As you progress around the course, your device records a GPS track showing your route.  When you finish, MapRun6 calculates your elapsed time, distance, and score, and displays your position on the leaderboard.  You can look at your GPS track, and your competitors’ tracks, to compare and analyse your route choices – you can instantly see who was fastest – and smartest!

What happens at an event? What sort of map will I be given?

After checking in at the event, use MapRun6 on your phone to select the event, or send it to your watch.  The course planner will give you a printed, A4 map with the controls marked on it.  When ready, hit the Go To Start button.  Check that your time has started, and that MapRun6 has commenced recording your GPS track.

Use the map to navigate your way around the course, and return to the Finish before the cutoff time.  Make sure MapRun6 records your finish time and displays your result – if your upload hasn’t happened automatically, you may have to do a manual upload.

For safety reasons, we would never expect anyone to compete whilst looking at a small phone screen!  In fact after you have hit Go To Start, you can put the phone away in a pouch or pocket; MapRun6 will work in the background, and you don’t need to look at the screen at all.  You will always be provided with a printed map at the event, or a link that allows you to download and print your own paper map for training or Anytime orienteering.

How close to each control do I need to be? How do I know I'm in the right place?

Your phone or watch will beep at each control, and will display the control number on your screen.  Control features should be obvious – read your printed map for the control position and description.  If you can’t hear a beep, check your phone volume, and make sure it isn’t on Silent.

If a control location is ambiguous or incorrect, scorers will adjust results.  If you are confident that you have navigated correctly but you cannot hear the “beep”, do not waste time hunting for it; continue with the rest of your course. Let us know at the Finish, and the scorer will check your GPS track and adjust your result if the control was misplaced.

GPS is pretty accurate, but you will always find variation between different models of devices.  You need to be within 10-15 metres to hear the “beep”. However you should go “to or past” the control feature, eg go close enough to touch it, or go past/around it.

The scorer can check your track to make sure that you went sufficiently close to each control, and did not go out of bounds.

How does the scoring work?

When you finish each event, your result will appear automatically on the MapRun6 Leaderboard – note that if you use a watch, you must “push” your result onto MapRun6. These results are provisional.

Our scorers review the MapRun6 results and adjust for any errors or issues as required. When they are happy that they have a final set of results, they will import them from MapRun6, into our local “OScor” results system.  OScor calculates results and points event by event, and generates the overall Series scores, which are published on the Park Street website.  These results are official, and are used to determine the prize winners for each Series.

View official results here

What if I don't want to use my phone, or I don't have one?

No problem at all!  Many people prefer not to carry a phone with them when orienteering. Here are some phone-free options:

  • Use a compatible smartwatch, eg Garmin.  You can download MapRunG from your device’s App store, and connect your phone with your watch.  You will need to bring your phone to the event, but once you’ve sent the event to your watch, you can put the phone away in your car whilst out on the course.  Click here for a list of compatible devices and more information about MapRunG.
  • Use a watch that uploads to Strava.  MapRun6 accepts uploads from Strava, and you will see a button to do this under Results.
  • Use a watch that creates a GPX track.  MapRun6 accepts uploads of .gpx files.  You will need to follow some steps to create and upload the file manually.
  • Use a control card.  Cards are supplied at Registration at events.  Take a pen, and tick the matching box for each control that you visit.  Record your name, and your start and finish time. Hand the card in to the scorer at the Finish.  They will calculate your position in the results.

What happens if things go wrong?

As we all know, tech is never foolproof! At each event we have several MapRun6 experts on hand to help get you started or troubleshoot problems. Our scorers are able to make adjustments to the results to accommodate any issues that might arise, eg a misplaced control, gps dropout etc. Just ask at Registration if you need assistance.

Some troubleshooting tips:

  • Make sure your phone or watch is well charged, and that power saving settings are OFF.
  • CLOSE all apps that you don’t need to have open. If you have dozens of apps running in the background, MapRun6’s performance can be downgraded.  You may need to power your phone off and on, if all else fails.
  • Make sure you have GPS enabled, and data available.  You will need internet access to download the event and upload results; you can do both from home if you don’t have internet access at the event.
  • Check that your phone is not on Silent.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of MapRun6 downloaded – delete MapRunF or any earlier versions of the app.
  • Make sure you have selected the right event – ask at Registration if unsure.
  • Download MapRun6 and register your account at home rather than at the event.  If using a watch, it is much easier to set up the connection between watch and phone, using a PC at home.
  • If having trouble uploading your result from your watch, make sure it has synced via its software (eg Garmin Connect), then try again.

Why do we use MapRun6?

Participants love MapRun6 because it provides a safe, contactless way of punching controls; it gives an instant result, and a great way to compare routes and results with your friends and rivals. Volunteers love MapRun6 because they don’t need to put out or pick up physical controls, or count up control cards and stubs, reducing time and effort at each event. Scoring is also much quicker and simpler.

 

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