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A case study on the effect of route characteristics on decision making in the sport of orienteering

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2020
Gölgeli, Tuğçe.
Orienteering is a sport where athletes need to find located targets at certain points on a predetermined terrain or in the city with the help of a map. In this sport where performance is measured with time, it is important to combine their physical endurance with mental processes and their ability to adapt to the environment and optimize them correctly. One of the outcomes that we can best observe these choices is the routes chosen and each route has its own environmental characteristics. Therefore, athletes need to analyze these characteristics well and as a result, they need to choose the most suitable route for themselves. In this thesis, the components affecting route selection are investigated. For this purpose, athletes’ data was obtained through GPS containing watches from an orienteering race held by Turkey Orienteering Federation. The collected data were examined by quantitative and qualitative methods, and a general understanding of athletes’ behavior was obtained and the distinction of modelable and subject-dependent factors in decision making of athletes was made. From the modelable components, a model that computes the shortest distance based on the distance and terrain surface has been created and then its compatibility with the behaviors of athletes was examined. Additionally, the results were supported by various statistical analyzes. According to the results of the study, environmental variables play a major role in the decision-making of athletes and model performance is more accurate in short-distance routes than long-distance routes in greater need of reducing the cognitive load.