Orienteering Hutt Valley Inc.

MapRun Guide

MapRun is a cellphone app we use for some courses to record visits to controls. It uses the GPS in your smartphone (or Garmin watch) instead of an electronic stick, punch-card or question-and-answer. Here's some guidance in its use.

The app is available from Google Play or the App Store. It’s free. Get “MapRun6” which is the newest version (replacing MapRunF). First time of use you’ll have to enter your name and other data. The app is run by an orienteer in Brisbane, he’s not part of “big brother”.

Now watch this little video from a club in the UK before we get onto a couple of checklists and FAQs. MapRun is used all around the world.

Now you know what's coming, here are some things to do before you leave home to go MapRunning:

  1. Organise a way to carry your phone safely when jogging – e.g. an armband, or bumbag. You’re only going to need to access your phone at the start and finish.
  2. Charge your phone. It's not thirsty on battery, but it won't do much more than a 3hr rogaine for example.
  3. If you don’t have data on your phone plan, then use the list in the app to find the event while you're in wifi range. The map including control locations will be downloaded onto your phone. If you've got data, and you're expecting to have mobile coverage, you can do this at the event. (Know that each MapRun "event" only has one course. Not a problem for a rogaine but if there are long and short linear courses each one is an event listed separately in the app.)
  4. Unless its an event that provides maps, .find the map on the web and print yourself a map. If your printer has a quality setting, use “best”.  (You can actually read the map on your phone, but you cant “thumb” your position like you can with paper.)

Note that it also now works on some Garmin watches with MapRunG.

And here's what to do when you get to the course:

  1. Rock up to somewhere near the start and select the event. Either one you’ve downloaded, or if you have data and coverage you can use the button “events near me”.
  2. Do you usually have sound off, or low? Turn sound up.
  3. Do you have a short display time-out? Select maximum screen timeout.  
  4. When you're ready, tap “Go To Start”. You'll see the map on your phone. Also where you are at the moment, but this only lasts until the start. You can put your phone into your armband or backpack now.
  5. When you get near the start the phone will beep, and you’re off. See below for what "near" means.
  6. Everything else is automatic – a beep records each control and the finish. The app verifies that you got the controls correctly, and works out the time or score.
  7. If you have data and coverage, your result goes straight to the website. You can even see other results for the course! If not, use “manual upload” once you're in wifi coverage to get them onto the MapRun website. Thats in a menu indicated by 3 horizontal bars.

Do's and Don'ts

  1. Do go right to each feature even if you get the beep early - that's orienteering etiquette
  2. Don’t take a route choice close to the finish. If it’s a score event you can recover – select the course again and re-start. Explain to the organiser later.
  3. You don’t need data (or even cellphone coverage) while you’re on the course. See above for downloading and uploading using wifi.
  4. Do look at the MapRun website later. The results section contains a "leaderboard" which is a list, and "runners routes" which is a map where you can display your and others routes. You can even play a simulated course as if your rival started at the same time as you.

How Near is Near?


You probably know that GPS’s in phones aren’t perfectly accurate. Neither are the positions of the controls that we put into the app. There’s a “tolerance” in the software which records the visit once you’re within 15m. If everything is perfect this means you’ll get the beep before you get there. Sometimes you might have to cast around a bit. Worth making sure you’re in the right place first!

Know the places where GPS accuracy is worst. Down in steep valleys. Under thick foliage. There are places in the Korokoro Stream which have both! If you don't get a beep when you are at the feature, after you finish you can "review results" in the 3-bar menu, This means you can increase the the tolerance and your missing controls may qualify. MapRun will store a second result for you with the additional controls included.

Phone Goes to Sleep?

The majority of cellphones work fine, but a small proportion don't register controls properly. Older phones may have dodgy GPS's. But even with new phones, manufacturers build in tricks to make their phone seem better, and one of them is to extend battery life. Some of these send an app to sleep when it doesnt think the user is looking. If you don't get a beep when you expect it, take a look at your phone. If the screen has timed out, wake it up. Sometimes that's enough, but if you get a message asking if you want to resume, say yes. Three things to try before next time:

1. In "settings" --> "display", set the screen timeout to the maximum

2. In "settings" --> "applications" ensure MapRun is allowed to run "in the background".

2. In "settings" --> "battery" turn off power save or battery optimisation for MapRun.

OK these are the common things. If you're part of the few having difficulties, try (a) a cellphone guru or (b) the gory details on the MapRun website. Look in the section "Technical" --> "Phone settings". Good luck!