Whatever Happened to “dib”?

Three to four years ago I built a couple of smartphone apps for orienteering. Since then I’ve gone quiet about them. What happened next? I had thought “not much” but it turns out something happened. First a bit of background.

Background What’s dib? My apps “dib” and “dib HQ” were an experiment. The motivation was to reduce the cost of entry to orienteering for small clubs and schools and simplify the process for organisers. Instead of controls at £100 each dib uses “NFC” tags at 50p each (or “QR” codes – those square bar codes you see from time to time). Instead of a dibber they use your Android phone. Instead of a printer for your result slip they use your Android phone to display your split times. Instead of a PC to collect results they use the organiser’s Android phone to gather results from competitors and to share the results with Winsplits, Splitsbrowser or as simple text results.

dib – results slip on your phone

dib HQ – course results

What happened next Anyhow “dib” and “dib HQ” worked but they were a big effort to build as I had to learn the programming language of Java, how the Android phone works and how to build the software. I couldn’t give any more time to developing or promoting them. In any case I regarded them as an experiment – a phone being a little bit impractical. There was the odd download here and there but it wasn’t widely taken up. I did notice quite a lot of downloads in Spain for some reason.

Time passed and I kind of forgot about it until out of the blue I got an email from Spain. A gentleman there had been experimenting with dib and had gotten enthusiastic about it. So much so that he wrote a guide in Spanish. Some more time passed and I didn’t think more about it. I did occasionally look at the download figures and did have the odd pang of regret about not having carried it through to support score courses as well as conventional courses. Then last month the Spanish gentleman got in touch again. He has now written a book/manual about many aspects of new technology in orienteering with the endorsement of the Spanish Orientation Federation. It has a chapter devoted to dib! He also trains orienteers in technology and is the primary reason why three-quarters of dib’s 4,000+ downloads have been in Spain.

I haven’t the time or expertise to develop dib further but I am now working with the spanish gentleman (Daniel) via a WhatsApp group with orienteers/developers in Spain with a view to them taking over development.

If you would like to read some more:

  • The dib website is here.
  • You can download dib and dib HQ to an Android phone from the Google Playstore (search for “dib”).
  • Daniel’s manual on applying new technology in orienteering is here with a PDF downloadable from here.
  • Daniel’s blog is here.
  • Daniel’s Facebook page is here.

In Daniel’s manual he describes the whole process of setting up an event from creating the map to publishing results (Google translate helps!).

Geoffrey Collins

Daniel’s Manual

dib in action in Spain


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