Here are the long awaited Minutes. I'm starting a new thread for this, instead of posting them way at the end of the previous "News From the Annual Meeting" thread. Also, even if you've already downloaded the Officers Reports at http://www.rrtc.net/annual_meeting_reports_2007.pdf I suggest downloading them again because I've reposted them with addition of the Workshops report, which was missing from the previous version. The Minutes follow:
Road Running Technical Council Minutes
USATF Annual Meeting
Honolulu, HI – December 1, 2007
Attending: Bob Baumel, Demetrio Cabanillas, Bill Cobler, Kim Cobler, Al Dausman, Fred Finke, Jim Gerweck, Norm Green, Irene Herman, Lena Hollmann, David Katz, Jack Kegg, Justin Kuo, Rod Larsen, Carol McLatchie, David Monti, Al Morris, Lester Mount, Carole Newman, Gene Newman, Floyd Ormsby, Ron Pate, Dan Pierce, Rick Recker, Stu Riegel, Bill Roe, Laura Schwartz, Don Shepan, Steve Vaitones.
The meeting was called to order at 08:37 by RRTC Chairman Gene Newman. Gene began the meeting by explaining the basic function of our Council—to ensure accuracy of road running courses. He introduced the people at the head table and other long-time measurers and certifiers, pointing out that we didn’t have our whole contingent at this meeting.
Officers’ reports were presented or, for officers not present at the meeting, summarized by Gene. These reports are available at http://www.rrtc.net/annual_meeting_reports_2007.pdf and will not be repeated here.
One topic mentioned in several of the reports was the Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials held in New York City in November on a multi-loop “criterium” course, resulting in a very exciting race (The Women’s Trials, to be held in Boston in April, will be on a similar criterium course). Several RRTC officers participated in measuring and validating the Men’s Trials course. David Katz provided additional details about the development and measurement of this course, which required a year to design and obtain all approvals from the city. Measurement was done in the middle of the night. As an interesting “nerdy” note, timing stations were set up every 5 km, but were used for recording the times of every runner on every lap of the multi-loop course, resulting in 48 intermediate splits for each runner. See detailed results on the USATF site.
Awards were presented for the RRTC Measurement-by-Pacing contest, reviving a tradition that was interrupted when we skipped it the last two years (2005 and 2006) but had originated in Honolulu in 1987, the previous occasion when USATF ( “TAC” at the time) held its Convention in Honolulu. For this year’s pacing contest, a short test course was laid out behind the Sheraton Waikiki by Jim Gerweck, Ron Pate and Masha Kuo (Justin Kuo’s daughter). Floyd Ormsby was the top pacer, estimating the distance with an error of only 0.011%. Prizes, consisting of puka shell leis and Honolulu Marathon shirts and hats, were presented to the winners by Ron Pate.
Gene mentioned a number of news items and RRTC policy issues:
The policy on interpretation of “Validation” measurements was revised this summer, bringing the USATF policy in line with IAAF policy, and eliminating a discrepancy between our procedures for pre-race and post-race validation measurements. The updated policy has been posted at http://www.usatf.org/events/courses/certification/validations.asp
It was decided this year that certifiers will always write both a course’s Expiration Date and its Certification Number on the course map (Writing the Certification Number on the map has been RRTC policy since 1997, but adding the Expiration Date is new). There had also been a suggestion to include Drop and Separation on the map, but this is unnecessary because Drop and Separation are always available using the Certified Course Search Engine on the USATF site. (Many people had been unaware that Drop and Separation were available in the Search Engine. Therefore, following this meeting, Keith Lively, the USATF webmaster, enhanced the Search Engine to make it easier to display Drop and Separation.)
On use of GPS measurements, the policy adopted last year remains in effect. GPS is permitted only for measuring a calibration course, and only if it’s a professional quality instrument and actually used by a licensed surveyor. GPS is not acceptable for measurements of race courses. While course measurements using some of the newer GPS models are, under ideal conditions, more accurate than results obtained with older models, they still don’t meet the standards for road course certification.
To address the decreasing availability of parts (especially the gear drives) used in making Jones Counters, Tom and Pete Riegel have designed a new version of the counter based on a custom fabricated gear drive. This new model, called the “JR” (Jones/Riegel) counter, isn’t available yet, but the design is complete, and production is expected to begin around February or March when all of the parts become available (the price hasn’t been determined yet). A drawing of the new counter was passed around at the meeting. As an advantage of this new (axle-mounted) counter, the counter is oriented correctly for the rider to read without cranking his/her head sideways. For more information, see the Course Measurement Bulletin Board at http://measure.infopop.cc/eve and the new Jones Counter site at www.jonescounter.com
As another alternative to the traditional Jones Counter, limited approval was granted last year to use certain commercially available electronic cyclocomputers which, with some trickery, can be adapted to serve as revolution counters in the calibrated bicycle method. This approach has been advocated for several years by Neville Wood and has found favor with a number of experienced measurers, but can be problematic for new measurers whose work must be reviewed sight-unseen by a regional certifier. The limited approval granted last year remains in effect: Any new measurer who wishes to try this “electronic” method must first contact Gene or one of the Vice-Chairs or Neville.
Tire pressure monitoring for the purpose of avoiding recalibration remains experimental and has not been approved. Few people besides Neville have tried this. Gene said he doesn’t see much difficulty in doing a postcalibration. RRTC’s standard measuring methodology continues to require recalibration of the bicycle.
Gene emphasized that all RRTC officers and certifiers should be USATF members. We can’t force anybody to join USATF, but we encourage it strongly, as RRTC receives financial and other support from USATF; also, membership in USATF provides insurance that may be useful when measuring courses (see more about insurance issues below). RRTC officers don’t get listed on the USATF website if they aren’t USATF members.
USATF president Bill Roe expressed strong support for RRTC, which has had to endure some difficult issues during the last few years. Bill described RRTC as one of the least political groups in USATF—and he intends to keep it that way. He said RRTC has done a great job bringing the road race community closer to USATF. He wants to continue shielding RRTC from politics, to avoid harming one of USATF’s best products. Bill also praised the job that Gene has been doing since his appointment as RRTC Chair two years ago.
David Katz raised an idea which has been suggested at various times in the past—that RRTC certifiers and/or measurers be recognized in some way as USATF Certified Officials. David stated that Linda Melzer, chair of the USATF Officials Committee, has expressed willingness to create a category of “Certified Road Course Surveyor” in cooperation with RRTC. Bill Roe cautioned that for this to be acceptable, RRTC would need to retain the ability to say who gets the status. Questions were raised whether people chosen to receive this status would need to pass Officials’ tests, and whether they’d have to pay fees, noting that for track and field officials, the fees are often paid by their Associations. Mention of Associations raised the concern about politicizing RRTC, which Bill Roe warned about in his comments. David expressed hope that the proposed new category of officials can be implemented by working with the Officials Committee at the national level only, without involving the Associations. Additional discussion concerned the possibility that recognizing course measurers as USATF Officials may provide benefits from USATF insurance coverage. Irene Herman, chair of the USATF Insurance Committee, weighed in by suggesting that such benefits may exist.
Note: On this issue of USATF insurance coverage, Gene Newman made numerous inquiries following the meeting, and eventually determined that a measurer’s status as a Certified Official wouldn’t make any difference regarding the extent of coverage from USATF insurance policies. Factors that can make a difference include whether the race has been sanctioned and whether the measurer is a USATF member. A statement on USATF insurance policy as it applies to course measurers has been posted now at http://www.usatf.org/events/courses/certification/insurance.asp
David Katz also mentioned that, in his status as a member of the IAAF Technical Committee, he is involved in a study of transponder (“chip”) timing systems, with a goal of developing IAAF standards for such systems. The timing companies are all cooperating with this project, which is part of a bigger effort on IAAF device standards, and is expected to take about a year. In RRTC, David is the Finish Line chair. According to USATF Rules, transponder timing systems used in road and cross country races need to be approved by RRTC’s finish line subcommittee (In practice, Mike Wickiser is the RRTC member who has done most of the work in evaluating timing systems for this purpose).
Carol McLatchie expressed disappointment that a women’s group prevalidation ride wasn’t held this time for the women’s marathon trials course. In the past, such group rides have been a great way to inspire women as measurers. In response, Gene observed that money was limited; also, we currently have only one woman certifier, Jane Parks, who did a great job but lacked the resources (including financial) to conduct a group measurement. Gene noted that New York and Boston did great jobs helping financially for the people who did the work, but for the future, we should consider getting event sponsors to agree to support group prevalidation rides.
Carol mentioned that she visited recently with former RRTC officers Wayne and Sally Nicoll, and that Wayne is currently on memory medication.
Steve Vaitones urged certifiers to be more proactive in maintaining communication with the USATF Association(s) in their area, pointing out that some Associations think there’s a disconnect. As a possible solution, certifiers might send an annual report to Associations in their area. The report could be sent to the Association LDR chairs or overall chairs. Topics covered in such a report can include number of courses certified, any special problems encountered, info on how to get a course certified, the difference between sanction & certification and the importance of getting both, etc. Steve promised to prepare a sample report and send it to Gene. Subsequent discussion included positive comments. As additional ideas to improve communication, it was suggested that certification info be added to Association web pages (Keith Lively would need to program this), and that RRTC have a presence at Association workshop meetings.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:01.
Minutes prepared by Bob Baumel, RRTC Secretary
Sounds like the discussions in Honolulu missed the major advantages of the pressure-monitoring method. It is true that there is increased efficiency by not having to carry out a postcalibration and course adjustment, but these are not the major advantages of the method.
The postcalibration method does not usually correct for temperature effects and in many cases is counter productive. With the pressure-monitoring method, the calibration factor at any instant is known accurately by a simple reading of the pressure gauge, and results are therefore more accurate.
However I think the major advantage concerns the calibration course. Once a measurer sets up an ideal calibration course near his home, there is never the need to set up one anywhere else.
I continue to be amazed at the ruggedness of the method, and have certified about 75 courses in the last three years using the same gauge without a single failure.
I am interested in how you measure the pressure in a high pressure tube, something like a 19mm road tube that has 90 to 100 psi, without releasing any of the pressure.
When ever I attempt to check the pressure using a press on gauge or a bike pump gauge there is some air lost.
I had been in communication w/Neville regarding validation of the Fifth Third 2006 25 km course at this time last year because there was a pending American record by Fernando Cabada set there. Now we're in early 2008 and since I hadn't heard anything about a validation of the '06 course, I communicated w/Neville again, asking about the validation status.
In his response he seemed to infer the '06 course had been validated in '07 w/out an actual remeasurement via a bike and Jones counter. I asked him if this was so and he said, 'Yes.'
I just checked the '07 convention minutes and, sure enough, the '06 Fifth Third 25 km course was validated based on means other than an actual remeasurement. I'm at a bit of a loss here...this does not seem right. We should not be in the business of validating courses by anything other than a calibrated Jones counter mounted bike. I do not feel comfortable w/Neville's action.
The '06 course varied from an earlier validated Fifth Third 25 km course enough, in my opinion, that Neville's method of validation isn't good enough. Comparing old w/new and using some maping tool to 'measure' new streets is an inadequate method to validate this course.
I have every confidence the course is long enough for Cabada's record to stand, however, the method of 'validation' sets a precedent we should discuss before implementing and it hasn't been. We have a tried & true system to validate courses. If we're to have an amendment to the tried & true, we shouldn't be putting the cart before the horse.
Neville's convention report regarding the Fifth Third 25 km needs a tiny clerical revision: the abbreviation for Michigan is MI, not MN (MI 03005 SH & MI 06006 SH).
Air loss is nearly always the case unless you use an appropriate commercial gauge with good technique. At a trials validation, Pete Riegel gave up on correlating performance with tire pressure because of the problem. However, I spent a lot of time in developing gauges that screw onto valve stems without ever losing air(Measurement News 131). Note that I keep the gauge attached to the stem throughout the certification measurement.
I'm reading Bob Baumel's notes for the first time. He writes "GPS is permitted only for measuring a calibration course, and only if it’s a professional quality instrument and actually used by a licensed surveyor."
Bob, did I miss a beat here or are you referring to EDM devices rather than GPS?
As I explained to you earlier, the Validations Chairman postvalidates a large percentage of courses on factors other than remeasurement. Limited resources, time, and the desire to avoid unnecessary effort do not permit otherwise. My action with regard to the Fifth Third is not a precedent, since past Validations Chairmen have done the same with this particular course. This course is the very best case I have seen for postvalidation without remeasurement.
(Thanks for spotting the typo of MN for MI, but fortunately it is only in the footnote to my table.)
Bob, I was referring to GPS, not EDM. Basically, during this meeting, Gene just restated the policy on GPS announced the previous year, as you can read in the 2006 Minutes posted at http://measure.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/508102977/m/5581092691
Thanks for the explanation. I was not aware that "professional surveying-quality GPS devices can achieve accuracy within a centimeter" to quote from the 2006 minutes. Can you or anyone explain how the devices achieve that accuracy? And another dumb question, since this still sounds a bit "rougher" than an edm measurement, what would be the advantage of using a gps device (over an edm device) in measuring a calibration course?
Bob, I believe (Tom can confirm this) that surveyor-grade GPS has access to the military-level accuracy that is denied to civilian units. I'm pretty sure there's a high level of encryption on the signal. Surveyor GPS units cost around $30,000, so it's a serious bit of hardware. Considering what it's used for, a high degree of precision is called for.
I don't think there's a particular advantage over EDM, but it's acceptable.
I believe that when accurate surveys are done with GPS, it involves more than a single receiving unit. A stationary ground base is required which communicates with the satellites. The portable measuring unit communicates with both the ground base and the satellites.
There's no real advantage of using GPS over EDM, in fact it is a ton more complicated, time consuming, and expensive. EDM is over with a push of a button, twice to double-check. 10 minutes for a 1000ft course.
To get GPS to within a cm of true location, or distance, a couple options exist.
Surveyors use multi-channel GPS, and interperet data on two frequencies from up to 12 satellites simultaneously.
Method 1 - Real-time-kinematic or RTK- A fixed base station is set up to log satellite data, and sends correction data to the rover. The rover also collects satellite data, and can make corrections in real time to establish the coordinates relative to the base as the points are located.
After the field word has been done, the data is taken back to the office for analysis, and only there will you get a distance.
Essentially the addition of a base station creates another triangle to check for errors that occur due to atmospheric conditions, iononosphere activity, and various positional errors.
Method two - Static - Another way to do it is to set up the base station over both points, one at a time, and collect data in 2-3 sessions each lasting 3 hours minimum. After about three days of field-work and another couple hours to process the data, you'll know what a couple people can do in about 30 minutes with a tape. If the points are a few miles apart, then GPS becomes a viable method.
Another thought on Survey-grade GPS vs. hand-held:
GPS satellites broadcast data on 2 frequencies, roughly 1200Ghz. The civilian L1 band is broadcsat in the clear, and is only accurate to a few meters. Period. The signal comes through a sine-wave similar to FM radios, and is easy to pick up.
Surveyors use the military, or L2 band, but CANNOT decrypt the signal. The encryption involves using Pseudo-Random-Noise or PRN added to the carrier-wave to further confuse the receiver. This noise is generated using a published computer algorithm, and varies with each satellite, repeating every month or so. Surveyors use the noise to get cm accuracy. HUH?
Imagine a rock band playing a long song, say Iron-Butterfly's Innagoddadavita. If you didn't speak the language, all you would get would be the wild beat. No great loss, but if you listened to it long enough, over and over, you'd know when, exactly, the drum-solo starts, and ends. If it were to be played very loud, on seakers a mile apart, you'd be able to pinpoint your position by listening for a specific cymbal crash, or high-hat coming from each speaker, timing the difference yields your position. No need to listen to the words, even if they told you exactly where you were. You'd need to know where the speakers were, but the L1 band sends this data already.
The Military combines both channels, and an ordinance mounted GPS gets the data on-the fly to cm accuracy like a Garmin handheld. Surveyors need hours of data-collection to get the same accuracy from a single receiver, or multiple receivers with one on a fixed, known point.
Here's some additional information on Surveying and GPS from the Army Corp of Engineers manual titled Engineering and Design - Control and Topographic Surveying. Chapter 9 is titled GPS Real Time Kinematic Topographic Survey Procedures.
It may help explain how surveyors use GPS system.
There's also a detailed manual titled Engineering and Design - NAVSTAR Global Positioning System Surveying
Enjoy -- Justin
I find this statement troubling. There is no mention on the USATF website relating to pre and post validation guidelines ( http://www.usatf.org/events/courses/certification/validations.asp ) that something other than a re-measurement is acceptable as validation. I thought that all validations had to be done by re-measurment. If there are other acceptable methods of validation what are they and why are they not made public or at least alluded to on the USATF website?This message has been edited. Last edited by: Matthew Studholme,
When a record is set it's up to the Validation Chairman to determine if a remeasurement is to be done. It would be difficult to remeasure all courses for any record, hence this is where the Chair decides by looking at who did the original measurement. I will ask Neville to further explain the process.
Until recently most measurers thought that validations were done after the record performance by remeasurement of the course. However, finances and expert manpower are not available to do this in many cases, and often it would be an extraordinary waste of effort.
Some of the factors used in deciding not to do a remeasurement are:
1. The measurer of the course has a very high reputation.
2. A very similar course has been validated previously and the differences check out well by measurement using “Streets”.
3. The length of the course checks out well on “Streets”.
4. The performance on the course is not for an open record.
5. The record performance and that from other race participants is that expected from those in other races.
At the 2006 USATF Meeting the following rule was enacted probably from the Long Distance Running Committees:
265-3……Course remeasurement is mandatory for a record to be accepted.
This is in conflict with validation practice and so needs to be changed at the next USATF Meeting.
Most validation procedures were developed before my time and I am not sure why they were never placed online until Gene made the effort recently.
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