Orienteering Interface Standards Project
Project History

Kick-Off Seminar, Oslo, October 1998

In October 1998 the IOF Technical Development Committee invited to a Kick-Off Seminar in Oslo regarding the definition of a set of "open, standard interfaces between various, disparate computer components used at orienteering events". Around 10 persons representing Emit, n3sport, SportIdent and other orienteering software developers from 5 countries participated in the week-end seminar.

During the seminar it was clear that there were two different independent tasks:

  • The information itself
  • How it should be transferred between the systems
At the seminar most of the time was spent discussing the first task and a draft attribute list emerged identifying a lot of the information that models an orienteering event.

At the end two groups were formed that should take care of the two tasks mentioned above. The groups were:

Work Group Message and Attribute
  • Pekka Linnainmaa, FIN
  • Olav Nedrelid, NOR
  • Gunnar Larsson, SWE
Work Group Syntax
  • Terje Mathisen, NOR
  • Kell Sønnichsen, DEN
  • Pekka Pirilä, FIN
  • Björn Heinemann, GER
Futhermore Stefan Nordmark, SWE, was appointed project manager. The project itself was owned by the IOF TDC who in the end should sanction the standard.

Finally a mailing list was set up for public discussion of the issues. This way interested parties who did not participate in the Oslo seminar could work with the groups.

1999

As everywhere in the IT business everyone is busy. This was also true for the participants in the working groups. Sadly this meant that the workplan for the two groups didn't hold. At the end of 1999 not much work was in fact done. There had been some work done on the Attribute List.

Some discussion on the mailing list regarding the use of XML as the syntax for the standard had also taken place. Especially Ian Watson, GBR, made some experiments, gave an introduction to XML and made a first draft of an XML based standard. There was a broad agreement in the expert group on the use of XML as the syntax but there was some differences in how fine grained the XML should be. Could it be used as a "wrapper" for tabular data? Or should everything down to the last second be a single XML entity?

Sadly the discussion of the message formats didn't get far. All efforts went into the modelling (the Attribute List) and the syntax (XML).

OLA

At the end of 1999 and beginning of 2000 Ted de St. Croix, CAN, took up the XML standard. Working on a new Swedish event adminstration system, OLA, he saw the idea in using XML as the underlying modelling. With a lot of input from Finn Arildsen, Kell Sønnichsen, Peter Löfås, Olav Nedrelid, Pekka Pirilä, and Hans Steinegger a fine grained XML model of an orienteering event emerged during the spring of 2000.

The model was made public in July, 2000, with a request for comments. Now the final model has been made into a beta version of the official IOF Data Standard. This does not mean that all the work has been done. There is still ample room for improvements but now it is time to get hands-on experience, i.e. to let the software developers work with the standard and learn from their experience.

World Cup 2002 Result Project

This project was started in the summer 2001 with the task of making a solution for web casting the results from the World Cup events in 2002 through a common web site. For this to succeed it was paramount to have a common exchange format that the different organizers - and their software - could use to send results to the common web server.

As a result of this project's initiation the IT Commission asked the World Cup organizers and software developers for their cooperation and at this point nearly all have agreed to participate. This means that the leading software developers have committed themselves to the IOF Interface Standard.

During the year since the version 1.0 (beta) was made public especially the OLA Project and Condes used XML to exchange information between software parts. The experiences with this and the need for speed due to the tight schedule for the World Cup Results Project lead to the definition of version 2.0 during the winter 2001/2002.

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