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★ Dakar 2019 - Mapmen

Klaus

Administrator
We all know what a Mapmen in the context of dakar means. A person that lays out the race course on a clear 2D or 3D map based on the rally notes given by the organization. So far legal and done by all top teams.
Writing those notes down as a competitor and entering the stage with those notes on you seems to be the line drawn by what is legal and what is not.

Why is ASO suddenly enforcing this practice that has been around for a few years? why now?
 

mrlentle

Well-Known Member
Technology and the ease of application for those with the skills (that's you Hog) or the funds (top teams) has made it so prevalent and really takes the fun out of it. I suspect this Dakar has also been restricted for room a bit compared to previous events and can't help but wonder if running over the same ground for a different day/stage hasn't made the ASO to tighten up on this too.
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
Why is ASO suddenly enforcing this practice that has been around for a few years? why now?
That's my biggest question. My second question is why has it taken so long to take this action, when it's been in the rules for a long time?
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
And to spice this up . . .

Here is another analysis of another pair of the "shortcut" directions in Kevin Benavides' "non authorized" gas tank notes from Stage 7. On this one the "shortcut" is longer in distance, but likely much shorter in time since it looks to be a FAR smoother path.

It's interesting to see the things these guys have been doing for years, but we never knew about! And given the limited space on his gas tank notes, and the much greater space available in a roadbook, with added notes correlated to the correct kilometer, you can imagine how much more "shortcut" type stuff they are probably used to having!

1547690996265.png
 

BANNEDFROMBAJA

2317 Cherimoya Drive Suite A Vista, CA 92084
That's my biggest question. My second question is why has it taken so long to take this action, when it's been in the rules for a long time?
because privateer #306 didn't have the extra budget to bring his own and knows the advantage of them...
 

Short Bus

Well-Known Member
"Privateer" #306 is worth $50m+ and gets lots of Red Bull money on top of that. The team supporting him has a day job running a manufacturer's WRC team. They were also supporting #312 whose father is worth $2b. I don't think this is an effort that is short on funding for mapmen.

I have another theory about the crackdown on mapmen. It may not be competitors complaining.

In past years there have been complaints about archeological sites being disturbed by racers and general land impact concerns. What if ASO told Peru that they would do things to limit vehicles from excursions into areas that haven't been recon'd by limiting the possibilities for short cuts. Limiting pre-mapping would help that. The other thing is intentionally setting up the course in ways that force racers to stick to the course. HW noted that they seem to have added a lot more WPs which means you can't stray too far from the intended route. The organization also reused a number of sections of course from stage to stage, further reducing the impact on the land. It may all be something that was part of the negotiations with the host country.
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
The "sensitive areas" have rules that basically say "don't shortcut in this area". The "recycle" symbol is used in the roadbook to show those areas. The penalty seems steep, so I would imagine there is no short cutting going on there.

1547695829716.png
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
Of course they use everything possible to find the race course. Often there are photos on the internet from official government meetings where the local stage map may be shown in the background. There are local news articles that discuss locations for parts of the course. There may be leaks of information from ASO officials and others who know about the course. There are maps ASO publishes that show the official spectator locations, with GPS coordinates. There are all kinds of ways to get information about the race course.
 

Hendricus

Well-Known Member
Hog, at your pleasure, could you show us a short section of road book through some choppy random type dunes? I'm curious as to how you stay on the correct ridge climb, for example, while picking your way up a dune. There are so many places in the dune where you come over a hill and you might intend to go straight, but because of a witch eye or a similar feature, you must chose right or left, but you really wanted to keep going straight. Now you are biased left or biased right from where you need to be. Or, is it broader than that, and if you know how to climb dunes in general, you will be fine staying on course?

This is a different topic, but I know from all the planning I've done with Google Earth, that Google Earth, while amazing, does not show very well, how steep and how rough an area is. I've learned to extrapolate, and I've learned to use the elevation profile tool, but I've "designed" many a routes and once we get there we just laugh, and start looking for the goats. But I've also found many cool routes too, and created some great rides.
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
Hog, at your pleasure, could you show us a short section of road book through some choppy random type dunes? I'm curious as to how you stay on the correct ridge climb, for example, while picking your way up a dune. There are so many places in the dune where you come over a hill and you might intend to go straight, but because of a witch eye or a similar feature, you must chose right or left, but you really wanted to keep going straight. Now you are biased left or biased right from where you need to be. Or, is it broader than that, and if you know how to climb dunes in general, you will be fine staying on course?
The roadbook won't show you where people actually go. It only shows the direction to the next roadbook note. In dunes, that will be a compass heading (CAP). In this case (roadbook from Sonora Rally) when you arrive at the km 143.97 point you turn right to a new compass heading of 136°. The dashed line means there is no road (i.e. "HP"), just follow your compass. A visible road would be a solid line. As you follow your compass while traveling at roughly 136°, you watch your odometer and the rally computer to know when you are near or at the next point at km 146.32. When you get within a certain radius (commonly 800m) of that point, the rally computer should pop up an arrow pointing to the center of the point. You follow the arrow until the computer peeps and the screen indicates you arrived at the point. You then proceed as shown in the next note, at a new compass heading of 74°, which would be a turn to the left from the previous heading. There is a lot more to describe here, but that is the extreme basics. When in the dunes, you rarely can hold a straight line, so you have to account for your extra zig-zagging or looping in circles when struggling.
1547699777542.png


Here are recorded GPS tracks from some competitors in the region of the course shown in this roadbook sample. The black circle is the "validation radius" for the point at km 146.32. As you can see, some people travel fairly straight, while others struggle a lot to get through these big dunes. This image might be on the order of 3 to 4 kilometers from one corner to the other, to give you a sense of scale. These GPS track images are always highly entertaining!
1547699282151.png
 

Hendricus

Well-Known Member
The roadbook won't show you where people actually go. It only shows the direction to the next roadbook note. In dunes, that will be a compass heading (CAP). In this case (roadbook from Sonora Rally) when you arrive at the km 143.97 point you turn right to a new compass heading of 136°. The dashed line means there is no road (i.e. "HP"), just follow your compass. A visible road would be a solid line. As you follow your compass while traveling at roughly 136°, you watch your odometer and the rally computer to know when you are near or at the next point at km 146.32. When you get within a certain radius (commonly 800m) of that point, the rally computer should pop up an arrow pointing to the center of the point. You follow the arrow until the computer peeps and the screen indicates you arrived at the point. You then proceed as shown in the next note, at a new compass heading of 74°, which would be a turn to the left from the previous heading. There is a lot more to describe here, but that is the extreme basics. When in the dunes, you rarely can hold a straight line, so you have to account for your extra zig-zagging or looping in circles when struggling.
View attachment 198116

Here are recorded GPS tracks from some competitors in the region of the course shown in this roadbook sample. The black circle is the "validation radius" for the point at km 146.32. As you can see, some people travel fairly straight, while others struggle a lot to get through these big dunes. This image might be on the order of 3 to 4 kilometers from one corner to the other, to give you a sense of scale. These GPS track images are always highly entertaining!
View attachment 198115
Really cool! Thanks for sharing this Hog. It's really interesting. It seems like that once you start circling back, it would be next to impossible to keep track of how many miles you've covered. It seems like you would be lost then for sure. There has to be some way the cyan rider or driver in the photo was able to get back on track. I get that once you get within the black circle, you get a reset of location, but what if you start struggling long before the black circle? Seems like your odometer reading can quickly become useless.
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
When lost or out of sync with odometer look for the tracks of others, unless you're the leader.
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
Nice article on the mapmen Klaus!
Dakar: Secret Sauce: The Mapman and [VIDEO] Interview with Dirk von Zitzewitz

I watched the interview of professional car navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz, and I understand his position in favor of mapmen, but I have a different perspective.

If I were in his shoes, I might also be in favor since it's an advantage over those who don't have it. It gives an added level of assurance that the navigation will go well, taking some of the responsibility and pressure off the navigator. It makes him more of a notes and instruments reader and less of a terrain reader. And it takes some of the unpredictability out of the game.

In my view the unpredictability adds excitement, and the pressure on the navigator adds drama. I'd rather see the navigation decisions made in the car rather than in the bivouac motorhome. Removing the mapman amplifies the savvy a navigator has or doesn't have.

Dirk speaks of the mapman effort as part of the navigator's job, but it isn't the navigator doing that job, it's another person or team of people doing it and handing the resulting map and the discovered shortcuts and other details to the navigator after most of the work is done.

In my view, and one of the things that drew me into the sport of rally is the great sense of adventure and discovery. I love the idea that when you are in the race, you don't really know where you are at any moment, you don't know where you are going, and you don't know what's over the next hill or around the next bend. Viewing the course on Google Earth ahead of time spoils that aspect that is unique to the sport of rally compared to other motorsports.
 

TJERGENSEN

Well-Known Member
Seems like cheating to me. And the best part of Raid is being lost 95% of the time and being rewarded everytime you hit a wp and the arrow says keep going straight. Or **** we just caught the edge of that one and the arrow says hard right
 

200MPHTape

Well-Known Member
I'm sure with money comes better images, google earth camera is at least a decade old, there are sat companies that you can get daily images of anywhere on earth. The Gov. keeps a lid on googles images, all along our border they keep old images so the cartel can't use them.
 

Hog Wild

Well-Known Member
Google Earth imagery is mostly 1 to 3 years old (depends on location), but you're right, they are not the most recent.
 

Bricoop

Well-Known Member
I'm sure with money comes better images, google earth camera is at least a decade old, there are sat companies that you can get daily images of anywhere on earth. The Gov. keeps a lid on googles images, all along our border they keep old images so the cartel can't use them.
Google updates its images frequently. Even in google maps you can adjust when you want your picture from.
 

E. Araiza

Well-Known Member
We all know what a Mapmen in the context of dakar means. A person that lays out the race course on a clear 2D or 3D map based on the rally notes given by the organization. So far legal and done by all top teams.
Writing those notes down as a competitor and entering the stage with those notes on you seems to be the line drawn by what is legal and what is not.

Why is ASO suddenly enforcing this practice that has been around for a few years? why now?
Maybe the years before it was only used by the top teams in a more discrete scene but now is just too easy or affordable that most teams use it now so the ASO had to do something about it, specially since the racers did it in plain eyesight putting notes on their bikes...?
 
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