Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why not require GPS watches?


Worldofo.com has a report about the IOF's decision to prohibit GPS watches at certain races (WREs, World Cups, and World Champs). I don't like the new rule and I think Mats Troeng's comment is pretty good.

If it were up to me, I'd have the IOF mandate that runners must wear GPS watches during big races and then organizers must make the data available.

But it isn't up to me.

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 4:42 PM


Michael, can you explain why people seem to be so fond of unit's display? I don't think you watch it at all during the race, so why you find it so precious?

Also whats the point, why all runners should use GPS watches during big races? Wouldn't simple GPS logger do the same - smaller, lighter, cheaper, and more accurate (wrist is not the best place for a gps antenna).
I think the point is that the watches aren't only used for orienteering races, but also for training sessions, long runs, cycle rides, intervals sessions etc. In these sorts of sessions, I often use the screen for instant feedback. Plus, with the additional heart-rate monitor, you have perhaps the most general training tool available, all in one device.

For those who aren't within the top elites, having to buy a separate GPS logger for one or two races a year isn't really worth it. Whilst at the really big events like the World Champs, if the organisers don't have some sort of tracking system set up then they're missing something from their coverage.

I'd also guess for most people, a watch on the wrist feels a more secure place for a device than a pocket...
whats the problem.. such a non display gps costs about 45 euros.. every top runner can buy it. and those who just run 2 a year can borrow it from another. Its just fair.
And its good that IOF made this rule now and not in 2 years, when everybody has a watch.
Maybe IOF has some secret and beneficial deal with GPS manufacturers, hoping that people who already have GPS watch will now buy another GPS device without a display.
But seriously, maybe elite runners could share their experience how they have benefited from GPS watches while running high speed in the forest looking at the same time at the compass, map, forest and watch. Maybe I could use this advice then in smaller competitiona to get an advantage before those who doesn't have a GPS with the display.
IMHO the quality of the GPS watches altitude data, which might have some use, is unfortunately crap.
Michael, can you explain why people seem to be so fond of unit's display? I don't think you watch it at all during the race, so why you find it so precious?I don't look at it during a race. But I use the display and the watch functions when I train. I look at the time and the heart rate. Sometimes I program interval workouts using time and/or distance.

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