Author Topic: DIY control by photo / email  (Read 4597 times)

Charlie Boy

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DIY control by photo / email
« on: July 19, 2011, 02:43:04 pm »
I rode a 300 on Friday and after 6 hours in the cold dark and rain got back after the last possible control point, the pub, had shut. I decided  I did not want to continue to the next available town for an alternative final control which was another 15km further on, plus the 15km home again after, even if the organiser had decided to accept an alternative finish to the one he was told of. Call me soft, but I didn't need the points and I knew I had done the distance (actually 330) which was good enough for me.

That said, it would have been nice to have the points.

If a postcard used to be acceptable as proof of passage, why not a picture of the village sign, say, taken with an android mobile and sent to the organiser by email at the time? It would be date and time stamped both on the photo file and the email so would be reasonable proof of passage.

Just an idea.
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interzen

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 02:48:36 pm »
I rode a 300 on Friday and after 6 hours in the cold dark and rain got back after the last possible control point, the pub, had shut. I decided  I did not want to continue to the next available town for an alternative final control which was another 15km further on, plus the 15km home again after, even if the organiser had decided to accept an alternative finish to the one he was told of. Call me soft, but I didn't need the points and I knew I had done the distance (actually 330) which was good enough for me.

That said, it would have been nice to have the points.

If a postcard used to be acceptable as proof of passage, why not a picture of the village sign, say, taken with an android mobile and sent to the organiser by email at the time? It would be date and time stamped both on the photo file and the email so would be reasonable proof of passage.

Just an idea.
If the photo was timestamped and geotagged (and quite a few smartphones seem to do the geotagging thing nowadays) then I would accept the photo as appropriate proof of passage. Whether or not the validation secretary would is another matter, however.

frankly frankie

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 03:15:20 pm »
I think the emailing would have to be an intrinsic part of the process.  Any digital photo can be timestamped and/or geotagged on the desktop, so in itself that's not good enough.
It needs to be a smartphone, which once again (like GPS) is a piece of specialist kit that not everybody buys into.  Granted, AUK have pretty much thrown out the old 'equal access' ethos already, the world does seem to have moved on (hm, when did that happen??)
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interzen

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 03:21:54 pm »
Granted, AUK have pretty much thrown out the old 'equal access' ethos already, the world does seem to have moved on (hm, when did that happen??)
About the same time it became 'non-competitive'?

There are ways to prevent 'tampering' of photos and GPX tracks (I've been looking at both in detail of late) but at present they're very much device specific, so to use my particular case if you're not running my app on an iPhone you're SOL, so the problem remains.

Also, a lot depends on the rider - if the person is a 'regular' then I'm more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 03:34:32 pm »
I quite understand Charlie Boy's comments.

We should be fairly liberal and allow photographs vis a via time tags, etc.   If we insist too mych on absolute evidence then we are taking ourselves a little too seriously. If the rider manipulated the tags, then the only looser would themselves alongside a sense of guilt.  After all, it is not a race.

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 04:40:52 pm »
As a beginner to Audax the whole proof thing seems odd to me. Shop receipts are ok yet you could root through the bin outside any shop and get one for around the time you wanted.

 Nothing other than a person checking the time and stamping your card is going to be fully cheat proof but when I suggested honesty timing a while back I got mildly shot down over it. The only result I care about is my own, if someone is sad enough to cheat they will get caught eventually anyway so why worry?


DanialW

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 04:45:57 pm »
As a beginner to Audax the whole proof thing seems odd to me. Shop receipts are ok yet you could root through the bin outside any shop and get one for around the time you wanted.

That assumes

- The shop has a bin
- The shop gives receipts
- The customers routinely put their receipts in the bin
- The bin is covered or it's been dry
- The receipt you find is within the window of the control opening/closing time.

Not as clear cut as you suggest. I take your point though. Once, I rode a 200. I went to an ATM in Todmorden, got some cash, and sped off, forgetting my receipt. Later, I arrived back in Tod, hunted around, and found my receipt on the floor, 10 metres away. It was very lucky of me.

Billy Weir

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2011, 05:30:36 pm »
IME, organisers (incl me) and validators generally want to put brevets through as OK, provided the rider isn't taking the piss.  In other words, riders who take reasonable steps to provide both the organiser and (subsequently) the validator with the comfort that they did the route as claimed, even if there is no time-stamped proof of control, is more often than not viewed favourably.

Personally, as an organiser, I've been comfortable pushing for a validation when I've received a photo + a receipt from the next available town.  Especially if backed up by a GPS track log.  The ones where I've been less comfortable (and essentially left it to the discretion of the validation team) is where the start/finish control is missing or where there has clearly been no effort to provide "circumstantial evidence".  Or where more than one control is affected.  To the extent that one rider (no names) almost did not get their end to end validated (that one went to committee, from memory, resulting in the rider being rebuked but ultimately the ride was validated).

Billy Weir

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 05:57:05 pm »
PS: just out of curiosity, do any organisers use (or considered using) orienteering punches (or ink stamps attached to a bit of string) hidden away in a secret location (a bit like a geocache)?

 I've personally toyed with the idea.  The thinking being that I would change them every so often to give some indication of time period, which an information control cannot replicate.  That said, I've not followed it into action.

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 06:02:41 pm »
PS: just out of curiosity, do any organisers use (or considered using) orienteering punches (or ink stamps attached to a bit of string) hidden away in a secret location (a bit like a geocache)?
One of the Welsh organisers did something similar years ago, if I remember rightly. His system involved numbered/coloured metal discs which were chained to signposts etc. for the duration of the event.


Martin

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2011, 10:54:49 pm »
I've accepted photos; mostly from the continent where it's not unusual to find nothing open in some places; some very ornate ones showing the rider's wrist watch taken against a background of the church tower with clock.

As someone who's done orientering once I really like the idea of a spiky thingy (or a simple metal letter punch attached to a piece of wire rotated every year) although of course no proof that you stamped the card during the ride.

alternatively you could use an info control; 3 of us rode the same proper perm on the same day and we all had different questions  :)

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2011, 10:56:17 pm »
PS: just out of curiosity, do any organisers use (or considered using) orienteering punches (or ink stamps attached to a bit of string) hidden away in a secret location (a bit like a geocache)?

 I've personally toyed with the idea.  The thinking being that I would change them every so often to give some indication of time period, which an information control cannot replicate.  That said, I've not followed it into action.

Lucy McTaggart used orienteering punches on the Moffat Toffee in 2010.  Dunno if she's bothered since.  Worked alright.

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 11:17:04 pm »
I;ve used digital photos for proofs of passage in the past. Even had one DIY org agree in advance to letting me use such a thing. Try it

David Martin

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2011, 11:39:13 pm »
For digital photos it must surely be a photo of something which indicates the time and cannot be realistically changed by the rider. So public clocks would work well. One might also add a requirement for something else that cannot reasonably be guessed beforehand to show that the photo is contemporary. E.g a photo of a text message from the organiser at the specific location (the text message would be sent the day before). 

Simple controls could be something like 'take a photo of a pair of cycle gloves with the Forth rail bridge in the background' or 'Take a picture of the pub sign at XXX through the frame of your bike.'

These would guarantee they are not 'recycled' pictures.

..d
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citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2011, 11:49:08 pm »
I think the emailing would have to be an intrinsic part of the process.  Any digital photo can be timestamped and/or geotagged on the desktop, so in itself that's not good enough.

I have photo editing software on my iPhone...

Quote
It needs to be a smartphone, which once again (like GPS) is a piece of specialist kit that not everybody buys into.  Granted, AUK have pretty much thrown out the old 'equal access' ethos already, the world does seem to have moved on (hm, when did that happen??)

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of "equal access" - GPS is available to all in a way that, say, membership of the Freemasons isn't. That's the important distinction.

Besides, this would be an additional means of validation, not a replacement. Luddites have no cause to feel excluded.

d. 

Billy Weir

Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2011, 07:55:49 am »
Is it still the case that postcards are acceptable means of control?  If yes, then the argument against accepting a photo of a landmark with the rider/bike in picture is weak, particularly if timestamped.

Necessity is the mother of invention, when one reaches a control that is shut.  I'm sure most of us have been there.  I can think of at least one occasion; the organiser had a particular control in mind which had gone out of business.  I got the camera phone out, took a couple of snaps and then rode on (controlling at the next town instead).  If I hadn't had the phone, I would have answered a made up info.  Failing that, god only knows - I'd (probably) stop at ripping a sign from a building and strapping it to the bike  :)

mattc

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2011, 10:28:22 am »
This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of "equal access" - GPS is available to all in a way that, say, membership of the Freemasons isn't. That's the important distinction.

Besides, this would be an additional means of validation, not a replacement. Luddites have no cause to feel excluded.
because it's additional, I agree it's not a big deal. Nevertheless I have to comment on your point:

It's not just 'Luddites'; there is a learning curve/barrier to the technology. We are keen to sell Audax as something you can do with carbon bling or carradice-n-steel, 30speed or fixed - if you start requiring a GPS things change a lot.

We have 'equal access' to nuclear physics degrees.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

citoyen

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2011, 10:54:08 am »
It's not just 'Luddites'

I was using the term flippantly. I don't mean to criticise anyone who chooses not to use modern technology but the point is that it is a choice.

Quote
We have 'equal access' to nuclear physics degrees.

Well, no, we don't because there's a qualification requirement. You don't need a qualification to buy a GPS device any more than you need a qualification to enter an audax event (PBP excepted).

Compare this to the adoption of digital TV - many people choose not to buy into digital TV but would it be fair therefore to make digital TV unavailable to the people who want it? Yes, the government have a schedule in place for the switchover to exclusively digital TV, but it's contingent on uptake. You can't halt progress for the sake of a small proportion of stick-in-the-muds.

d.

citoyen

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2011, 11:07:20 am »
Having said all that, I'm not convinced that GPS technology is an entirely good thing for audax. Just because GPS makes it possible to create extremely complicated routes that require millions of control points, that's not necessarily a good reason to allow them.

What purpose does it serve to validate these rides? I don't see that they do anything to promote the spirit of long-distance cycling. (Sorry, I realise I'm going OT here and conflating this with a different topic.)
 
d.

mattc

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2011, 11:08:34 am »
Quote
We have 'equal access' to nuclear physics degrees.

Well, no, we don't because there's a qualification requirement. You don't need a qualification to buy a GPS device any more than you need a qualification to enter an audax event (PBP excepted).
You're missing the point. You demonstrate very clearly the attitude of the technorati. GPSes are harder to use than a routesheet.

I know, you don't believe me; well have you seen how many questions there are (just on YACF), about how to do pretty basic things - like, er, navigate - with this oh-so-simple-and-cheap-device?


Quote
You can't halt progress for the sake of a small proportion of stick-in-the-muds.
I assume that is a 'flipppant' usage, and that noone should take offence? Again.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

vorsprung

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2011, 11:14:24 am »
You can't halt progress for the sake of a small proportion of stick-in-the-muds

I don't see it that way.  GPS things are fun in their own way but they have the immense butt pain of batteries and it is yet another thing to go wrong.  If AUK are going to "move with the times" it should be to cope with the way stuff is altering.  In days gone by local shops and pubs had a stamp for cheques.  Now many of the local shops have shut and those that remain open don't have a stamp.  So the little box on the brevet card often just has a time/date and "see receipt #3" instead

I think that the current situation would suit a brevet envelope to hold the receipts rather than a brevet card.

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citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2011, 11:15:41 am »
GPSes are harder to use than a routesheet.

Well, you say that, but some of the routesheets I've seen...

Quote
I know, you don't believe me; well have you seen how many questions there are (just on YACF), about how to do pretty basic things - like, er, navigate - with this oh-so-simple-and-cheap-device?

No, I do believe you. I get it. I really do. But is it a good enough reason to exclude the technology for those people who are capable of using it?

Quote
I assume that is a 'flipppant' usage, and that noone should take offence? Again.

Yeah, whatever.

d.

vorsprung

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2011, 11:25:20 am »
GPSes are harder to use than a routesheet.

Well, you say that, but some of the routesheets I've seen...

Quote
I know, you don't believe me; well have you seen how many questions there are (just on YACF), about how to do pretty basic things - like, er, navigate - with this oh-so-simple-and-cheap-device?

No, I do believe you. I get it. I really do. But is it a good enough reason to exclude the technology for those people who are capable of using it?

You are both off the point here.  Navigating with GPS may sometimes be easier than reading a routesheet but the OP was asking about validation.  For that all you need is a tracker.  Navigation doesn't come into it.
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arabella

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2011, 11:32:51 am »
I thought OP was about using a photo as validation.  That assumes no gps available.

If it's a DIY of your route then it's up to you to craft a route where you can get 'proper' controls (ATM, 24hour garage etc.) - no photo will ever be required

If it's a DIY perm the organiser will be aware of the options (if changed then you can answer a made up info/photo*/whatever) and know what they accept.

*this assumes you carry a camera.  I don't.

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citoyen

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Re: DIY control by photo / email
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2011, 11:43:59 am »
You are both off the point here.

Yeah, sorry, I got sidetracked. To get back on topic, I don't see the "equal access" argument as a strong enough reason not to accept a time-and-location-stamped photo as proof of passage. I think that's the point I was trying to make originally, before I went off on one. Sorry.

But actually, I think I agree with arabella. If it's a DIY, it's up to you to choose controls that will be "open" for the whole of the required period.

d.