I want to thank Andy Kowalczyk who left a comment on my 2014 Dakar Rally results post and Evan Gamblin who contacted me via email, both of whom provided additional information about the Dakar Rally navigation equipment shown in the photograph that I included in that post. Both of these fellows pointed out that this rally equipment was made by ERTF.
ERTF is a French company that develops, adapts, produces and markets positioning and communication systems based on radio, GSM or satellites associated with numeric cartography. By using a combination of advanced technologies, GPS and multi network transmission, ERTF provides on board systems for navigation or control, cooperative or non-cooperative tracking systems (on board and based stations), real-time tracking and Internet interfaces. ERTF works closely with ASO, the company that organizes the Dakar Rally, as well as all of the other World Raid Rallies Championship organizers and many of the manufacturers’ teams to provide navigation and tracking equipment for these types of events.
For background purposes, the initial photo of the ERTF Dakar Rally navigation equipment that was in my 2014 Dakar final results post is shown below.
Navigation Equipment At A Dakar Rally Navigator’s Station
The unit on the right is a relatively simple odometer display that provides the information to the navigator needed to follow the instructions shown in the Route Book.
In the competitively timed stages in the Dakar Rally the competitors must follow a route that will take the competitors through a series of waypoints along the stage. This use of waypoints helps ensure that, for the most part, all of the competitors follow the same route. The route also takes competitors through some small towns and villages where it is important to keep the speeds down for safety purposes. This information is provided to the competitors via the navigation equipment shown on the left side of the image of the Dakar navigator’s station. This piece of equipment also provides tracking information to the organizers. Each competitor must enter their competition number into the unit, so that the organizers can determine the whereabouts of each competitive vehicle.
The features and operation of that piece of equipment are too extensive to easily show in a post on this website, however; for those of you who are interested I have attached an ERTF Powerpoint training document that explains how this unit works. To see this Powerpoint file click on the following attached file.
Once again I want to thank Andy and Evan for helping me understand the equipment used by navigators in the Dakar Rally.