Monday, April 30, 2012

Orienteering On Demand

Orienteering on demand results screen

After a lot of discussion I have finally developed a prototype of a web front end for my Orienteering on Demand concept. Helen has been looking at various ways of making permanent courses more usable (and used) and this often came down to some sort of mobile phone app. Last year we put together an Android app that read QR codes, recorded split times and then uploaded them to the web. What was really needed was a better web end to display results.

I've now put together a first attempt at that website. This turned out to be quite a lot easier than expected once I had discovered yii. (If you wouldn't know a PHP framework from an overgrown  re-entrant then don't worry. If you would, then yii is highly recommended.)

It's very early stages at present, but it shows a lot of the ideas. The bit I'm particularly pleased with is the GPX file upload. This allows you to upload a GPX file from a phone or watch, and then works out how close you got to each of the controls on a course. True virtual orienteering in action. The current site includes a few example GPX files of me running around the local park.

I'm still not sure quite where this is going. Do I want to run a single website for the world to use (the Winsplits approach) or would it be easier to allow clubs to run their own sites (the Routegadget approach)? Do I make it open source and let people add their own enhancements? Do I publish an API to allow people to interface their own apps? We'll see what the response is.

There's a lot more to do, but as a start I reckon this is now worth letting into the wild.

1 comment:

Paul Frost said...

Your dilemma about how to promote it is similar to the one I had when I discovered RouteGadget.
Originally I thought clubs would add it to their own websites, but the technological skills to do it evaded most clubs.
But maintaining is quite time consuming and collecting in contributions takes up far too much time.

I really like the idea of using GPS tracks to compete in events that could span months or even years. The concept of having a library of classic courses/locations and then being able to go out and run on them anytime is revolutionary.