Getting an E-Stick
San Diego Orienteering uses the SportIdent Finger Stick (also called E-Stick), which has also been adopted by the U.S. Orienteering Federation for national A-meets. If you do not own an E-Stick, you can rent one ($3 per day) at SDO events where e-punching is used. You can also buy an E-Stick, see "Resources/Links" > "Orienteering Gear & Mapping".
This becomes your personal finger stick (it has a unique ID number), and can be used at all e-punching events, both locally and nationally.
Using an E-Stick
Before doing a course, you must prepare your E-stick by deleting old data and making sure it's working correctly. At the Start, first insert the card in the "Clear unit", and keep it there until the unit beeps and flashes (this may take a couple of seconds). Next, place your E-stick in the "Check unit", which verifies that the card is cleared and writes a check time on it.
When the starter tells you to begin your course, stick your E-stick in the "Start unit", which records the start time onto the E-Stick. Unlike with paper punches, the exact second you start is not crucial, as the actual start time is written on the card and is used to determine elapsed course time.
At each control, insert your E-Stick into the control unit until it beeps and flashes. This takes less than a second - much faster than punching a paper card! If you punch at the wrong control or punch out of order, the software will catch you and disqualify you - unless you go back and punch at the correct control, and then punch all other subsequent controls in the correct order. In that case, the computer will ignore the incorrect punch and accept the subsequent correct punches.
At the Finish, "punch" the "final control unit", which records your finish time. Then go to the data-transfer station to download your card's contents into the computer database. When e-punch official tell you to do so, insert your E-Stick into the download unit and wait for it to beep and flash. This may take 5 to 10 seconds, because all of the data has to be uploaded to the computer. The official will tell you if you punched all of the controls correctly, what your course time was, and give you a printout of your splits.
All e-punch results for each course are printed and posted periodically during the meet, so you can compare your time and splits against everyone else's. In addition, the splits are posted here on the SDO Website.
Reading the E-Punch Splits
Here's how to decipher the color-coded splits information in the e-punch results:
There are 2 lines of information for each person:
- First line (light yellow background) shows split times for each leg.
- Second line (darker yellow background) is cumulative time on course.
For each line, the fastest and slowest times are highlighted:
- For each leg (column), red numbers indicate the person with best leg and cumulative times, blue numbers indicate 2nd and 3rd fastest times.
- Pink background indicates a leg with lost time (as calculated by the WinSplits program).