Jan Kjellström

International Festival

of Orienteering 2017

South East

14th April - 17th April


British Orienteering

UK League


Why the change?

Technology continues to evolve and both major electronic punching systems now have contactless systems available. Other sports have already moved to these and we believe that this is the logical direction for orienteering as it effectively automates the process of registering when a control has been visited, enabling you to focus on the skill of navigation and not the mechanics of punching.

What is Mixed Punching?

The latest update in the software for an SI control unit allows it to be used as a contactless beacon as well as a traditional punching unit. At the same event it can therefore support both competitors with contactless SIAC cards and those with older style dibbers to punch. It is important to note that all SI dibbers, of whatever vintage, will continue to work with the SI units.

Is this fair?

Runners with a SIAC card can certainly save time at each control, which is one reason why we expect that competitors will gradually upgrade their SI dibbers/cards to SIAC. However, this is not unique as the newer SI dibbers were already noticeably faster than early ones and competitors use other technological advances such as fast settling compasses and contact lenses etc.. This is recognised in this year’s IOF statement on mixed punching, which announced that no rule change was required for mixed punching provided that contactless cards are available to hire at an event. We have therefore arranged that SPORTident will ensure that all competitors have the option to hire a SIAC card at a reasonable cost. In addition, SIAC cards will be available to hire at no fee for Juniors (although they should still be booked when entering the event). However, if you wish to use your current dibber at the event then you are welcome to do so.

What about reaching across impassable barriers to ‘punch’?

The SIAC card has to be within 0.5m of the control unit to register so the opportunity for this is minimised. However, we recognise that this is most likely to be an issue at sprint and urban events so will ensure that controls are sited so that this is not possible.

How do I know if the SIAC has successfully registered at a control?

The SIACs will beep and flash when it has registered, so you will receive instant feedback. If the SIAC does not give feedback you can revert to dibbing in the traditional way.

If I have a SIAC card will the event be completely contactless?

No, you will still be required to ‘dib’ at a Check box at the start and a similar unit after the Finish so that we have a safety record of everyone out on the courses. This process also switches the SIAC card on and off, thus saving battery life.

What happens if the battery runs out in a SIAC card?

The battery life is approximately 4 years so this is unlikely in the short term. In addition the battery state of the SIACs is automatically checked as part of the process at the start of each event. In the unlikely event that a SIAC fails whilst you are competing then you can continue your run by using the SIAC card to ‘dib’ at the remaining control units.

Are there enough SIACs to hire?

SPORTident will be providing SIACs for hire with pre-entries and have assured the organising team that there will be enough for all those that wish to hire them. In addition, as a promotion for the JK and in recognition that we are strongly supporting juniors, SIACs will be free to hire for any M18/W18 or younger who wishes to use one.

Doesn’t this add hidden costs to clubs and hence me?

No, because all SI units produced since 2005 just need a software upgrade in order to be able to operate in both contactless and dibbing mode.

Are we being guinea pigs for this?

No. Contactless punching using SIACs was used at the 2015 World Orienteering Championships in Scotland for every event and was well received by competitors. In addition it has already been used in ‘mixed’ mode at several events organised by SEOA clubs this year and will be used in several more in the run up to JK2017. Indeed, the Swiss Orienteering Federation has sufficient confidence in the system to implement mixed punching at all their events in 2017.

How can I become familiar with the system?

A short example circuit will be set up near Enquiries on each day of the event so that you can practice