An electronic method of recording a competitor's visit to control sites instead of the traditional pin punch.
The most common method in the North East uses a system known as SportIdent® (or SI for short.)
Another method sometimes used is called E-mit®.
With SI the competitor carries a small plastic e-card (commonly known as a "dibber") attached to a finger with elastic. At each control, together with the usual orienteering marker kite, there is an electronic box mounted on a stake. The "dibber" is inserted into the top of the box and the record is acknowledged after a moment with a beep and an LED light. This indicates that the unit has "written" a record of the visit on the competitor's e-card. After "punching" the finish box, the competitor goes to a "download" station (manned) where the information on the e-card is read by a computer. The competitor is given a printed record of their run, including not only total time to complete the course, but also "split times" - the time taken from one control to the next all round the course.
Other points to note:
On the way to the start it is necessary to erase all previous data on the dibber by inserting it into a "clear station" box. This can take five or six seconds after which the box will beep and the LED flash.
At the start, the dibber is usually inserted into a "check" box to ensure all old data has been cleared.
Some events require a "start" box to be punched just after the start line (a punching start). Others rely on the timer clock and the first record is made at the first control.
If the wrong control is punched or controls are punched out of order, that information will be erased once the correct control/order is restored, otherwise a disqualification will be recorded.
Each dibber has a unique reference number which is recorded to the owner or temporarily to the hirer. A dibber should not be used more than once in any competition.
Dibbers can be bought from Orienteering suppliers, such as Ultrasport or Compass Point or SportIdentUK agent. The price at the time of this page upload about £25. They can also be hired at events for a fee shown in
Some orienteers add an extra safety thread from dibber to wrist to avoid loss.
In the (unusual) event of a box failing to respond, often there is a conventional pin punch at a control as backup to punch the map.
Emit works in a generally similar way. The e-card ("brick") is held in the palm and offered to the top of the unit at the control.