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Timing Integration - PhotoFinish

Configuration with OpenTrack

The purpose of the Timing Integration management screen is to allow the meeting organiser to synchronise OpenTrack's system with the photo finish technology being used for the competition. Currently we support FinishLynx, TimeTronics, Seiko, Swiss Timing & Alge.

One of the major benefits of this is that it really limits the work required for the meeting organiser and the photo finish operator and also enables quick-to-view results (unofficial until marked otherwise) for athletes and spectators.

Here is a video demonstrating the process. Please read through the explanation below it too.

From the Manage screen, head to Timing Integration. From here you can see what photo finish systems we have currently integrated with. Simply click on the one you are using. In this example, we are going to look at FinishLynx which is used by the majority of our users. After you have selected it, you will see this screen:


There are a few configurable options (on the left) in this section:

  • License field contents - Choose from the dropdown options as to what include on the ppl file for the athletes
  • EVT file includes field event - As it says
  • EVT file should exclude completed events - The EVT file will keep updating to remove completed events and "tidy up" your file
  • EVT file includes people? - As it says
  • EVT/PPL files include full club name - Instead of just the code

Once you have set your configurable options, turn your attention to the right hand side. Here you can manually download (and/or view) the EVT & PPL files if you wish. However, to integrate, you need the latest edition of our upload program. Click Latest EXE file and download the program. Your firewall may attempt to block this so it could require an override. Once downloaded, open it:


  • Mode - Select the correct photo finish program you are using
  • Folder - Designate a folder on the local machine you are using. This needs to be somewhere the photo finish operator can drop a file so either their machine or over a shared network drive
  • URL - The URL of the competition (finishing with the slug)
  • Email - Your login details
  • Password - Your login details

When each item is correct, it turns green, as seen above.

Next steps:

  • Click the Click to download lynx.ppl and lynx.evt files. button. This will download the EVT & PPL files to the folder specified above. Use these on your FinishLynx program.
  • Click the Auto Download button if you want the EVT & PPL files to keep updating whenever changes are made. This will make the program slightly slower but no changes will be missed and you can get the dynamically updating EVT file with completed events removed.
  • Click the Click to begin uploading button. The program will now be looking in the specified folder every couple of seconds. Once a .lif file is dropped into it, the program will recognise it and send the results onto the result page for that event within seconds. The director can sit back and just check every so often to ensure everything is running as it should. Nothing else needs to be done, other than marking the results as Official when ready.

If using FinishLynx, there are some settings we recommend.

Unicode

If you use any non-Western-European characters (Greek, Russian, or eastern european accents), you will want to select the Unicode options so these can be seen in the files which FinishLynx writes (the LIF and PPL files). This can be found in File | Options | Database | LIF Code Set as shown.

Additionally, you will need to select the correct encoding ('utf_16_le_bom' as shown) on the OpenTrack uploader to ensure the EVT and PPL files will be processed correctly by FinishLynx.

Please note that any EVT or PPL files downloaded from the OpenTrack site will not be encoded - you can however encode these in a text editor like Notepad++.

Autosave

We recommend turning on auto-save which will cause the LIF files to be written every few seconds. This will let us know within a few seconds when the race has started, and also to display the winners to the public as you are timing the later runners. This is hidden in an advanced menu - press and hold Ctrl + Shift while clicking File | Options, to reveal all FinishLynx settings, and select as below. We suggest a frequency of 5 seconds. Then you won't have to worry about saving results after each race.

Alge

If you have downloaded the meetxml file from OpenTrack, a right-click in the meet browser element of Alge will give you the option to Import a New Meeting, and add the details of your meetxml. Using the update option later on in the meeting will allow you to update Alge with any changes.

To ensure your results files will be sent to the correct place, open ATL Exchange Settings from the top left of your meet browser and ensure the OptiXmlExport AutomaticExportDirectory is set to the same location as in the OpenTrack Uploader.