Car 9 here. We encountered some curious GPS trouble at the July Friday Nighter.
First, this is not a general problem with the Richta GPS Checkpoints system. It was a combination of a conflict with another app and maybe (IMO) some limitations of any Android device.
Second, there were clues that there could be trouble brewing. No big red flags, but some indications. When you open the Competitor app into an event, the GPS coordinates begin refreshing and should do so very often. I noticed they didn’t seem to be changing quickly or steadily. Wish I had given that more thought. I dismissed my concern because I’ve mostly been staring at the Rallymaster app this year.
Third, I have an app called MileIQ installed on my phone. It is an automated mileage logger for keeping track of reimbursable business travel. This app updated earlier that day. Five days later, I discovered it had no data captured for those five days. I’ve had small problems with MileIQ reliability, but never found it to interfere with Richta. Restarting the phone made no difference. I ended up having to uninstall and reinstall MileIQ to get it working again.
Next clue was found about two miles down the road. At the Drivers Meeting, they announced the crew working the OUTCONE would be checking each car had gotten their Out Time in the app. The crew did not do this. Knowing our intended Out Time was 1930 + 9, I had already entered that into the rally computer and didn’t notice Competitor hadn’t detected the Restart location (CP1).
The final clue was the laggy checkpoint detection. Yes, there is a slight delay between passing the checkpoint coordinates and Competitor announcing it. As we arrived at one checkpoint (location unknown) we could see a line of cars idling. There were two posts between us and the stopped cars. 2nd post was pretty close to the cars, so seemed likely that the checkpoint would be at the 1st post. We were one or two seconds beyond the 1st post but not yet to the 2nd post when the app sounded. If the GPS data stream reaching the app was refreshing slowly or erratically, I would expect exactly this result.
We made no off-course excursions and arrived at the finish location having detected only CP2, CP3, and CP4. Somewhere along the way we passed the CP5 location without detecting it.
The event critique distributed at the finish described a leg 6 but there is no CP6 in the results. We didn’t hear anything about it being dropped or explaining the mismatch.
There were three other cars that did not detect CP5. A rally official was monitoring the map view of the course in the Rallymaster app and says those cars were off-course missing the checkpoint location entirely. It makes sense these three didn’t detect CP5. What doesn’t make sense is 30% of the SOP and NOV cars missing a checkpoint. When that many cars are getting lost at the same place there is a problem, and the leg probably should have been tossed. It’s not the competitors’ fault that the route or instructions were difficult to follow without local knowledge or more experience.
After the remove/install cycle with MileIQ, I’ve had no further issues with any GPS app. I’ll be making a few verification tests with Competitor and see if things are working smoothly again with it. Just looking at the GPS data refresh, it seems to be fine now.