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Old 05-06-2011, 02:37 AM   #807
JMo (& piglet)
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Joined: Apr 2007
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Originally Posted by troy safari carpente View Post
Originally Posted by Safariaddict
I was just wondering the other day after getting back from condo and thinking about a question my girlfriend asked me whilst she was helping me wind my maps into the MD for day 2, Is there a better way to do the maps instead of using paper scrolls, ie a digitial display.
Not sure if anyone has brought this idea up or I'm just dreaming.
Wouldn't it be great if you just turned up and downloaded the days route instructions into your display and away you go, and it was syncronized with the ICO so the next instruction flashed up as the kays tick by. ?

The DAKAR (then TSO) had a far more detailed GPS route in years past (mid 90's to early 2000's) and the "compass" arrow pretty much did the job of showing the direction of the entire course (actually, at the time, CITRÖEN and MITSUBISHI had systems that they could "download" the route info into their own nav computers - similar to that which you describe - but these were banned, as only the factory teams had access to it and it was a BIG advantage).

The GPS did not however detail things like cautions and speed zones etc. (basically it was just an electronic compass) and the result was that a lot of bike riders paid more attention to following the electronic arrow, and NOT keeping an eye on the roadbook, speeds cosequently rose, and as the pace went up... so did occurrence of big accidents happened... and so the move (back to a less is more GPS navigation) back to making the roadbook the primary source of nav info, wast taken (to the system used in place today).

What you are talking about is digitally replicating the paper instructions (incl. cautions, turns, speed control zones etc.) as an electronic "roadbook". Coupling this to the trip meter (or via the GPS... would be even more accurate/simple) is entirely possible with todays technology (GPS,SPOT,IRRITRAC etc.), but by combining (and simplifying) the need to keep updating the maps roller and "bumping" (correcting) the ICO/trip to correlate with the routechart.

The system you describe is quite possible to create... what the cost, and what effect it would have on simplifying "navigation" (ie. make it easier/raise the speed averages on the course)... well that is another question.

It sure would make it simpler to navigate... that in turn would make it "faster" as well... on the other side... with less things to keep in the top of mind (calibrating the trip, rolling on the maps) while on "the fly", then perhaps the rider can concentrate more on the riding/terrain and yhis would REDUCE accidents (even if the pace went up slightly?). Interesting option for the future maybe... any electronic geeks want to give it a shot?
Following on from what Troy has said, the main reason the roadbook is still on paper is that it is a great leveler - it is the same for everyone - if the data was digital, then it could be manipulated in different ways using different devices, whether approved by the organization or not?

For example, if it was a download, the support teams could also utilise it, scan the whole roadbook very quickly, map it out on a screen, look for short-cuts etc etc. I'm not saying anyone would cheat, just use it to their 'advantage' ahem.

Fundamentally though, a paper roll is a failsafe - if the motor/power packs up, you can at least wind it forward manually.

Also, it is very easy to make adjustments to the info with a pen and scissors - not just at the briefing the night before, but also during the day itself mid-stage for example, where the route may have to be amended due to an accident or washed out river for example?

As for linking it to the ICO and GPS - a fundamental part of a rally is the navigation, and the pilot's ability to process and manipulate the data they receive from the different instruments (it's not just about who is fastest over the ground!) - getting the nav gear to do it for you takes away that fundamental element?

However, regarding the auto-correct or 'bump' facility Troy suggests - if you use the new generation Speedocap display (combined speed/trip/compass heading) in conjunction with the organization's GPS, then the trip element of the Speedocap does reset itself to what it 'should' be, every time you pass a waypoint in the GPS' memory.

As long as you don't go wrong from the roadbook (and thus need to reset manually back and forth on the fly), it is a very accurate trip meter - so much so that Si Pavey did bother with a regular ICO this year in the Dakar (although he did have a Trail Tech Vapor fitted as a back up), and simply relied on the trip data from the Speedocap...

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