Modern day Rally Roadbook survey

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by Oyabun, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    Well, it's not a real survey, just really corious.
    I've only raced Rally by car, but recently contemplated to start on a few friendly events on my motorcycle too.
    Looking at roadbooks I'm amazed by their pricetag, weight and texhnology what looks at least 70 years old.
    I had an idea of creating a modern day Roadbook based on e-ink technology. Consumes almost no power, readable in direct sunlight and during the night just as paper, has no moving parts, weights easily 1/4 th of the current models and electronics and installation could be a lot simpler. It'd be easy to upload the information after edited on a phone or tablet through Bluetooth.
    I haven't seen such roadbooks so far, so if they exist, please bear with me. If they don't, would you be intersted in buying one - given they would be compwririve in price with the existing solutions?
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  2. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    there are a few apps for ios/Android. really navigator is one I've tried, rabbit is another. they are pretty mature/robust feature wise.

    if you're just looking at a hardware aspect, i dunno, seems like reinventing the wheel?
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  3. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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  4. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    Thanks for the feedback.
    Indeed, I'm looking at the hardware aspect. Phones use different screen technology, but all of them get get very hot if they are encased in a proper motorcycle proof case, and operate with enough screen brightness to be daylight readable - and electronics really does not like to be heated so much. On a very hot sunny day, under a glass with screen operating at full brightness they can very quickly reach temperatures of 90degrees or over. It might be less of an issue on a motorcycle but they require quite a lot of energy to run. E-ink or e-paper is used in ebook readers like the amazon kindle only need energy to refresh the screen, and behave just like paper in between refreshes. No backlight or luminance needed as it is reflection readable, and does not get hot at all. They are also lighter and much less sensitive mechanically comapred to oled or lcd technologies.
    Thisbis why I thought it might be an interesting project to replace current paper-based roadbooks.
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  5. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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  6. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Something like this that worked on an e-ink reader would be awesome. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and am amazed at how much more readable it is in bright day light than any phone or tablet.
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  7. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    Yeah. That's the point why I got interested in this whole project.
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  8. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    ohhhhh, wow... cases... no, that's the wrong way ! :-)

    get a rugged/waterproof phone/tablet and forget about overheating issues. i use a 5 1/2" display Kyocera XD, it lives on the bars without a case. personally the 5-6" screen is the sweet spot for both viewability (on the bike) and usability (route planning/editing by the fire ) but still small enough to pocket when off the bike. i don't use charging cords anymore, and just swap batteries if/when they get low.

    e ink is awesome for long long battery life but the reaction time may be too slow if you have several directions in a row. I'm only judging this by my old Kindle. great sunlight readability, but sometimes 4-5 seconds per change.

    I'm gonna watch this thread for e ink stuff to develop. there were several attempts a few years ago to get similar things going, but when the costs got up to around $500 it was hard to ignore the $55-65 rugged phones.
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  9. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    I get your point with the rugged phones, but they are still different than what I'm looking for.
    While an Lcd based device is great for gps based navigation, they really need good screen refresh rate and probably higher resolution too. But they are not the same as a proper old school Rally Roadbook. The ones woth the long paper rolls fed into them and then advanced by some small mechanical motors controlled from the handlebars.
    Nevertheless, I have ordered an evaluation kit and will build a case and a hardware interface to test it.
    This has three possible colors, white, black and yellow - so thibgs of importance can be highlighted too.
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  10. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    it will be an interesting project for sure!
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  11. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    In cross-country rally (Dakar style) many colors are used to mark up the paper roadbooks, commonly with 3 or 4 different colored markers. Also, full color is now being used in some printed roadbooks for fun rides and racing (including mine), and I believe this will increase. So, having very limited colors would be a problem if you wanted such a device to get much support from the rally community. Also, if you are aiming for such a device to be used for a real rally race, the race organization may need to mandate that everyone use the same device, which becomes problematic given the number of similar devices already available, and the broad functionality (way beyond just a roadbook display device) that some of them support, and the cost. If you want more feedback from those who use the paper roadbooks on a regular basis, the "Racing" forum here on ADV is where most of those people hang out. There have already been a number of discussions there on the topic of electronic roadbook display devices, which would be worth reading.
    upload_2018-11-13_21-2-2.png
    #11
  12. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    Howild,
    Very valuable input indeed, thank you for sharing.
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  13. txingui

    txingui Adventurer

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  14. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    Thank you for all of you to provide valuable feedback.
    I have received quite a few questions regarding the status of the project.

    The whole project is in the evaluation phase at the moment. I have to confess, that I myself raced (both as a driver and a co-driver) only in car rallies before, but been considering to venture into motorcycle Rallies. The starting point was that I've found that manual roadbooks are rather expensive despite they're using medieval technology.

    Budget: I believe that an electronic Roadbook could be developed with a sub-500EUR (sub-300 for a build yourself kit) target price which would already have have battery, connectivity (wifi and bluetooth), a 7-ish inch three color e-ink display (potentially touch sensitive) , handlebar controls in a rugged waterproof case. It would have the same visibility as a paper based roadbook, in a smaller and lighter yet rugged form factor.

    I'm more concerned about the hardware than roadbook software as many of the later are already available. I'm thinking about a Raspberry based platform, which could run android based software ported to raspian, or possibly running Android already (this later would put more limitation to the usable hardware though).

    As this is a hobby project, at the moment I'm thinking about developing a prototype with a 6 or 7.5 inch three color e-ink display and mechanical design for a rugged housing.
    The plan is to create an open-source project in which the plans and documents are freely available and open for further inputs or modifications to the community.
    In case the tests will be successful, I might also create ready to assemble and/or pre-assembled and tested kits available for less technically oriented riders.

    What do you guys think?

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. txingui

    txingui Adventurer

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    the idea looks good, I will be observing how it evolves
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  16. Oyabun

    Oyabun 親分

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    Question:
    What is the traditional width of a Rally roadbook?
    As far a s I understand the traditional books have an A5 format, which is 108x160mm. Am I right thinking, that the rolls are printed in a way, that the width of the roll is 108mm?
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  17. HogWild

    HogWild Scott Whitney

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    Standard cross-country rally roadbook width is 150mm (~6 inches). Length of each "page", or what is visible at any moment is less standardized.

    Keep this in mind, as it's the direction a number of developers are moving in:
    http://www.openrally.org/

    There are a lot of cheap roadbook holders out there:
    [​IMG]
    #17
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