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basicxman
03-13-2009, 09:27 PM
I know, this has almost definitely been discussed before. Before you flame at me I've started a new post I just want to say why, it's recent, I'm sort of a unique case (most people have an entire team, this is me and my dad) and I might have some unique questions. Anyways...

I'm a one man team, with my dad. We have raised enough money to go to the Atlanta championships that we were invited to via the second round lottery pick. We're driving to Atlanta from Toronto.

I'm wondering a few questions....

How big is Georgia Dome and the rest of the venue at the championships? How much will I be running around from field to field?

The event is 3 days, there's 100 teams, approximately how long do I have between matches? How many matches will I get?

Do I have time to visit some friends around Atlanta? We're leaving on the 18th and arriving on the 14th.

Will I have time to peak over at the FLL and FRC field?

We're taking an FTC robot and a big storage unit across the border, has anybody ever had any problems crossing the border (I've never crossed the border by car, not sure exactly how it works)?

Anything I should know? I know I'm forgetting a whole bunch of questions I have

Thanks!

Jared Russell
03-13-2009, 10:44 PM
I know, this has almost definitely been discussed before. Before you flame at me I've started a new post I just want to say why, it's recent, I'm sort of a unique case (most people have an entire team, this is me and my dad) and I might have some unique questions. Anyways...

I'm a one man team, with my dad. We have raised enough money to go to the Atlanta championships that we were invited to via the second round lottery pick. We're driving to Atlanta from Toronto.

I'm wondering a few questions....

How big is Georgia Dome and the rest of the venue at the championships? How much will I be running around from field to field?

The event is 3 days, there's 100 teams, approximately how long do I have between matches? How many matches will I get?

Do I have time to visit some friends around Atlanta? We're leaving on the 18th and arriving on the 14th.

Will I have time to peak over at the FLL and FRC field?

We're taking an FTC robot and a big storage unit across the border, has anybody ever had any problems crossing the border (I've never crossed the border by car, not sure exactly how it works)?

Anything I should know? I know I'm forgetting a whole bunch of questions I have

Thanks!

The Georgia Dome is a big, big building. Think your standard baseball/football stadium. And that's not even counting the pits in the adjacent convention center. All the pits are nice and compact, making scouting fairly easy, but it's a good 15-20 minute walk with your robot to the field. And probably 5-10 minutes without the robot.

You will probably have around 7 matches if the past is any indication. If you do the math, that means basically an hour between each match on average.

The FLL fields are in the convention center along with the FRC pits. So they are easy to take a look at when you get a free moment. The FTC fields are in the Georgia Dome, so it's a hike.

I can't speak to any border issues.

Hope this helps!

dooey100
03-13-2009, 11:07 PM
Dang, I didn't think they had done the second round lottery yet, I thought we still had a chance of going. Oh well, good luck to you!

We crossed the border to go to our regional, and had no problems at all. (From BC to Idaho)

Overyourhead
03-14-2009, 12:43 AM
Hey,

Congrats on getting to Georgia.My team will be there also! Here are some of my answers to your questions.


How big is Georgia Dome and the rest of the venue at the championships?
- It's pretty big, the first year I went there(I've been there 2 times) it was pretty overwhelming. There are often signs everywhere, and event staff everywhere to ask directions, so getting lost shouldn't be a problem. As the championship gets closer FIRST will post maps and directions on the main sight, you will also get them emailed to you.


How much will I be running around from field to field?
- Not entirely that much.You really only go to the dome when you have a match. You will be in the pits the rest of the time. It takes about 8 minutes to walk from the pits to the dome, depending on how much human/robot traffic there is.



The event is 3 days, there's 100 teams, approximately how long do I have between matches? How many matches will I get?
-You are FTC. The event is actually only 2 days long. Only the FRC competition is 3 days. The first day will be opening ceremonies, judging, practice matches and qualifying matches, and some awards are given. The teams are split into 2 divisions (Franklin and Edison) of 50. I believe we had about 7 matches last year, not counting the finals.


Do I have time to visit some friends around Atlanta? We're leaving on the 18th and arriving on the 14th.
-If your friends are in the Dome also yes you should. You will be very busy if it is just you and your dad. You will have the 18th all to your self. My team normally catches up on all the sleep that we missed in the previous 2 days. Then we head over to the Georgia Dome to watch the FRC final matches on Edison. I don't know what time you are leaving on the 18th but you may want to stick around for the after party. Last years was pretty awesome.


Will I have time to peak over at the FLL and FRC field?
-I would like t say yes, but you have a tiny team of just 2. You are going to be so busy you will be pulling your hair out. I suggest your father stay in the stands and scout. When you compete he can come down and coach or take pictures. On the third day FTC doesn't compete so you can watch the FRC games all you want, you can also go into the pits. The FRC pits are crazy, there are kids elbow to elbow, robots everywhere and trains or robots being queued. It's definitely worth taking a trip through, just stay out of the way.


We're taking an FTC robot and a big storage unit across the border, has anybody ever had any problems crossing the border (I've never crossed the border by car, not sure exactly how it works)?
-My team drives down from Rhode Island, it's about 18-19 hours of driving, so we don't have a problem. Border patrol may ask to see the robot. If they do ask I suggest you be very nice to them, perhaps you could print out some information about the competition from the FIRST website to show them. I have heard stories of team that ship their robots and when they arrive TSA essentially striped their robot down because the micro controller may look suspicious.


Anything I should know? I know I'm forgetting a whole bunch of questions I have.
There is so much you should know.
1.)I don't know what hotel you are staying at but we took our robot back to the hotel everyday. This means in the morning you will need the elevator. Wake up early because the elevators are always packed. WE stayed at the Marriott Marquis last year we had to wake up about 15 minutes earlier so make sure we could grab an elevator.
2.) Last year the Georgia Aquarium closed down it's doors the the public and only FIRST students and mentors could get in at half price. I suggest you go to this. I believe it is the worlds biggest aquarium(I may be wrong) and with thousands of FIRST kids it's a great place to meet kids.
3.)I'm not sure how old you are but if you are interested in College Scholarships there is an entire hall dedicated to colleges and industries that give out millions of dollars in scholarships. They'll give you more information at the competition.
4.) Wear comfortable shoes.
5.) Don't leave valuables in your hotel, there were many stories of hotel staff stealing money from luggage last year. If you don't need your laptop don't bring it. If you do bring valuables, call your hotel ahead of time and see if there are hotel safes in the rooms.
6.) If you stay in the Marriott Marquis on the second night there is usually a party for FIRST kids. It is thrown by another FRC team ( sorry, I forget what team throws it). There is usually a thread made closer to the competition date about the party.
7.) Explore Atlanta. It's a great city. It can get sketchy at night, but there are often cops around the hotels because of the amount of kids there. You are safe as long as you stay on main-well lit roads.
8.) Three words. Hard Rock Cafe.
9.) My team has never gone to the World of Coke, maybe this year. I hear mixed reviews about it. Maybe others who have gone will leave there opinions of it.
10.) The after party is a blast. And it has lots of food, games and entertainment.
11.) BRING BRING BRING some type of cart to push your robot in as you walk to the Dome. Even the lightest robot will feel like it weighs a million pounds.
12.)Have fun.


I'm sure I am missing things to. Hopefully others will leave their opinions too. PM me if you have any questions.

Rick TYler
03-14-2009, 02:40 AM
I've only been to Atlanta once, and that was last year for FTC. In my experience, 5-8 minutes is wildly optimistic. Schlepping a robot back and forth is not much fun, and we always allowed 15 minutes each way. The walk back and forth to the pits was just about the worst part of the experience. The absolute worst part is the tendency of large groups to squat on large blocks of seats and then save them like they own them. EVERY time I tried to watch an FRC match I had some kid telling me, "You can't sit there, those seats are saved." Every time for three days. I can see why the general public doesn't turn out for robotics events -- it's an extremely unfriendly environment. Thanks for listening. It's the one thing about youth robotics that drives me absolutely nuts. I won't even talk about the large group that parked itself on the edge of the FTC fields and didn't budge for two days (taking terms staking out seats so that no one else could sit there). Very non-GP.

Anyway, the people are fun, the pits are a great experience, and when they aren't trying to kick you out of your seats, the FRC games are always fun.

Take earplugs, drink plenty of water, and wear comfortable shoes.

If you have questions about crossing the border with small robots, you might post on the Vex forum (www.vexforum.com). A lot of Canadian teams read that board and might be able to help.

We are a US team that drives into Canada two or three times a year with a van full of robots and parts. We've never had the slightest problem. In fact, the border guards usually want to ask about the robots and our strange t-shirts. Good luck.

GaryVoshol
03-14-2009, 06:29 AM
Will I have time to peak over at the FLL and FRC field?
-I would like t say yes, but you have a tiny team of just 2. You are going to be so busy you will be pulling your hair out. I suggest your father stay in the stands and scout. When you compete he can come down and coach or take pictures. On the third day FTC doesn't compete so you can watch the FRC games all you want, you can also go into the pits. The FRC pits are crazy, there are kids elbow to elbow, robots everywhere and trains or robots being queued. It's definitely worth taking a trip through, just stay out of the way. That will be a logistical problem. There is no direct path from the stands to the field. If your father is scouting in the stands, he will have to leave early enough to make a long trip around. If he's lucky they might let him go down the exterior steps just north of the Dome and re-enter on the lower level with the robots. Otherwise he would have to make the trek all the way back to the pits in the convention center following the public pathways, and then follow the robot pathway with you to the arena floor.

For the layout on the Dome floor, think of when the football field is there. FLL and FTC are on opposite sides of the 50 yard line, with equipment and video screens in between. There are FRC fields on each corner of the field, so you can see two of them from the FTC area.

Phil Ross
03-14-2009, 04:00 PM
I suggest your father stay in the stands and scout. When you compete he can come down and coach or take pictures.

I would actually suggest having your father be your coach. It will be very difficult for you by yourself to make everything go right and you will probably need the extra hand at some point. If your father is the coach he will have access to help you if something goes wrong ON the field and it will be much easier for him to get between the stadium and the pits accompanying you.

hope this helps

basicxman
03-14-2009, 07:30 PM
He usually guards our belongings and takes pictures while I play my match XD He can help with strategy and the robot after the match so we can discuss what went wrong, how to avoid it happening again, etc...

Jared Russell
03-14-2009, 09:52 PM
If your team consists of one student and one adult, there is no way that you can drive and have a payload specialist at the same time...?

amariealbrecht
03-14-2009, 10:23 PM
You are a very inspiring story..I hope you rock it out in Atlanta..way to go!!

crake
03-14-2009, 10:28 PM
If your team consists of one student and one adult, there is no way that you can drive and have a payload specialist at the same time...?

They're a FTC team. So it's probably not an issue :)

Congrats on the trip to Atlanta... its a really amazing time and place.

Jared Russell
03-14-2009, 10:31 PM
They're a FTC team. So it's probably not an issue :)

Congrats on the trip to Atlanta... its a really amazing time and place.

Oh.

I was gonna say, how can you even lift a robot with one person?!

I'm gonna go learn to read now...

Overyourhead
03-14-2009, 10:45 PM
I would actually suggest having your father be your coach. It will be very difficult for you by yourself to make everything go right and you will probably need the extra hand at some point. If your father is the coach he will have access to help you if something goes wrong ON the field and it will be much easier for him to get between the stadium and the pits accompanying you.

hope this helps

Sorry if I was not understood correctly. I was suggesting that your farther coach and scout at the same time. when you have a match coming up you could call him and he can walk down. There are stair cases around the Dome and it is not very hard to get to the Dome floor. Sometimes there are movable steps where you can walk straight from the bleachers to the field.This is an awesome time in your life, your dad should be there with you. I wish my father had an interest in robotics and would participate with me. You're pretty lucky.

I wouldn't worry completely about your pit. I feel very comfortable leaving leaving my laptop and camera in the pit with nobody there. You will find that teams leave laptops playing videos in their pit while they are gone. We sometimes ask both teams on the sides of our pit to watch our stuff. It's a very safe place, I've never heard of anything getting stolen in Atlanta.

basicxman
03-15-2009, 12:16 AM
You are a very inspiring story..I hope you rock it out in Atlanta..way to go!!

I'd hardly consider myself inspiring XD Although I guess counting the sponsors I've gotten, overcoming depression/psychosis, making it to Atlanta myself...IDK lol XD But thanks for the well wishes!

They're a FTC team. So it's probably not an issue :)

Congrats on the trip to Atlanta... its a really amazing time and place.

Thank you, yes I'm an FTC team, my robot is defensive and only requires one driver. The robot I'll estimate at 10-15 pounds (I'm a bad estimator though) but as stated before, after a while that will feel like a million pounds. By the very helpful captain of team overdrive, I've been recommended to get one of these: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=5770

Sorry if I was not understood correctly. I was suggesting that your farther coach and scout at the same time. when you have a match coming up you could call him and he can walk down. There are stair cases around the Dome and it is not very hard to get to the Dome floor. Sometimes there are movable steps where you can walk straight from the bleachers to the field.This is an awesome time in your life, your dad should be there with you. I wish my father had an interest in robotics and would participate with me. You're pretty lucky.

I wouldn't worry completely about your pit. I feel very comfortable leaving leaving my laptop and camera in the pit with nobody there. You will find that teams leave laptops playing videos in their pit while they are gone. We sometimes ask both teams on the sides of our pit to watch our stuff. It's a very safe place, I've never heard of anything getting stolen in Atlanta.

Lucky perhaps, a lot of people would say I've payed greatly for my luck though :(

I'd carry my all-useful ipod in my pocket for referencing rules and such, as for camera, father would have, and laptop one of us can just wear it around our shoulder in a case, even while driving. That's all I'm really worried about losing ><

---
Thanks everybody! We should keep this thread going for future references to other Atlanta newbies!

Rick TYler
03-15-2009, 02:13 PM
I just re-read my post -- sounded really negative. It was a great experience -- mostly (for me) in getting to meet other competitors. The long walk is a drag, but it's fun to see our medium-sized robots in the big arena. Have a great time!

Abra Cadabra IV
03-15-2009, 02:56 PM
I think the walk will be a bit better this year; last year they had to deal with tornado damage on top of everything else and I think the route we had to take from the pits to the dome was affected by it. However, it's still going to be a long walk. DEFINITELY invest in something to help you carry your robot. Last year we made that mistake and spent a couple matches hand-carrying our 20lb robot to the field and back until we found a collapsible luggage dolly (which I do NOT recommend using except as a last resort). Even if your robot's light, it's a long walk and you don't want to risk dropping it.

In regards to matches, I think last year each team got 7 or so. They also gave us 2 practice matches at the beginning of the first day, which I don't think were included in the total of 7.

Also, if the scheduling is anything like last year you might not get much time to visit the FLL pits or matches. They run on roughly the same schedule as FTC, if I remember correctly, and if queuing is the same as it was last year then you're going to spend a lot of time in the Dome waiting for your match. (Last year the matches ended up delayed by a good hour or so but teams were being queued according to the original schedule.) But even with this, you'll still have an entire day to watch FRC matches. The final matches in particular are definitely worth seeing, especially if you're lucky enough to get good seats.

Overall, Atlanta is a wonderful experience and definitely worth the trip. It sounds like you and your dad are pretty well prepared for this, but if you run into trouble other teams are usually willing to help out, lend parts, or even share scouting information. Good luck, and I'll see you there!

rspurlin
03-15-2009, 04:24 PM
The configuration of the facility and the logistics could be different from previous years, but assuming no weather related massive changes ... The FTC fields will be in the Georgia Dome on either side of the fifty yardline. There will be two FRC fields on either side of you (sort of in the corners of the field/floor). I think if you look you can find typical layouts and maps online somewhere. The pits will be in the adjacent building, the Georgia World Congress Center, one of the largest exposition centers in the world. Plan to spend lots of time walking between venues. Even so, this is one of the few places in the world with such facilities adjacent to one another.

Although others have suggested that there is any easy path from the stands to the floor of the Dome, FIRST strongly discourages people from making such a move. Do not count on being able to do this. I second the recommendation that you have your father act as coach and come along with you on the walk from the pits to the field. His view will be much better also.

As FTC and FLL are mostly running simultaneously, you won't have much time to view FLL stuff. Assuming the pits are laid out as they were in previous non tornado affected years, you'll be close enough to visit their pit areas though if you have some spare time between matches.

Atlanta is a big city like most others. There are certainly parts of town that are nicer than others. I can't vouch for specific hotels where it may be safer to leave certain valuables, as I live here, but use common sense. Strangely enough, comments about laptops being safe in the pits during the event are mostly true. But I wouldn't leave a laptop bag unattended anywhere outside the venue, regardless of what city I'm in.

You should have time to visit friends, and I'll also recommend you host them in visiting the FRC events on Saturday. Maybe you'll be able to show off a trophy.

Congratulations on the invite and good luck on making the most of your trip.

basicxman
03-15-2009, 07:04 PM
Thanks again everybody,

Is there open wi-fi in parts of the convention centre and dome?

Phil Ross
03-15-2009, 09:19 PM
Thanks again everybody,

Is there open wi-fi in parts of the convention centre and dome?

in the past there has been. although this year I would not count on it because of the new FTC and FRC field controls. The FRC rules have said that there is to be none of that stuff. At some regionals there have been designated areas for Wi-Fi. Hopefully there will be some sort of "cyber-cafe" for people to use.

Good luck and see you in ATL!

ManicMechanic
03-15-2009, 09:28 PM
I've always enjoyed this view of a walk to the pit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSjKVDgnWwY. We never quite made it in 37 seconds!

Overyourhead
03-15-2009, 10:03 PM
I've always enjoyed this view of a walk to the pit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSjKVDgnWwY. We never quite made it in 37 seconds!

Last years walk for FTC wasn't nearly that long. The only part we walked was starting at 20 seconds in your video. Because of the tornado last year the pits were a lot closer than previous years. I hope this year the FRC pits and the FTC pits are in the same hall again. It makes the pits a lot more interesting.

For anyone who doesn't know. A tornado hit Atlanta a few weeks before the championship. It was pretty much cleaned up by te time we got there. Alot of windows were blown out all around the city. Here is a picture of the Dome as we drove up. All the plywood should have been windows.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3425/3358704672_eb4ff74af4_b.jpg

Also, for anyone who has never been to the Dome. Here is a short video about it. There's a lot about the Dome I didn't know.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uBBT9EhYxU&NR=1

crake
03-15-2009, 10:12 PM
There's a lot about the Dome I didn't know.

They left out the part that the dome roof can easily support the weight of a M1 tank. :)

Not really related, but I didn't realize that apparently Atlanta is considering a new stadium for the Falcons. I guess once a Stadium gets to be close to 20 years old its warranty expires. Or something.

gorrilla
03-15-2009, 10:25 PM
this year is going to be 1557's first year at the championship!!!

that a really long walk:ahh:

we probobly modify our cart a bit so i can hold tools and so we can charge batteries from it and stuff

I forgot to ask the question lol

theres an after party for all the teams right? when does it start and end? is it worth going too and staying another night in atlanta?

BenX02
03-15-2009, 10:30 PM
It is a giant place, I was there in 2005 with my FLL team, and it took us about 5 minutes to get to the playing field from the pits.

Overyourhead
03-15-2009, 11:03 PM
this year is going to be 1557's first year at the championship!!!

that a really long walk:ahh:

we probobly modify our cart a bit so i can hold tools and so we can charge batteries from it and stuff

I forgot to ask the question lol

theres an after party for all the teams right? when does it start and end? is it worth going too and staying another night in atlanta?

Congrats on going to Georgia.

The walk is long...but manageable. As for the cart, you can definitely do that. There seems to be a secret cart war that goes on between teams. I've seen carts with strobe lights and a fog machine. I've also seen a hovercraft cart. That was pretty Epic.

Yes, there is an after party. It starts right after the FRC finials on Einstein. The party is cool....but I don't think it is worth staying an extra day. My team takes a bus down there with another team from our state. We stay for about 2 hours then leave for home. If you can't make it I'd say just go home. If you can only go for an hour or so it's worth getting the meal and playing a few games. I'm not sure what time it ends....I've never stayed that long.

ptan
03-16-2009, 03:25 AM
... We have raised enough money to go to the Atlanta championships that we were invited to via the second round lottery pick. We're driving to Atlanta from Toronto.


Congrats on making it in!! We enjoyed having you as our alliance partner and we look forward to seeing you guys again in Atlanta!

As far as logistics goes, we are actually planning on leaving our robot at the FTC pits, however, we are locking it up inside a box. Also, we are planning to bring the cart you saw us push around at the Ontario FTC Tournament. Having been to Atlanta a few times before as an FLL team, we know how long the walk from the pits to the dome is! You really don't want to be carrying your robot by hand all that way.

Don't forget to hang around for the Canadian Team group picture -- All the Canadian FLL/FTC/FRC teams gather around for a picture together. Also, in previous years, we had a reception for Canadian Teams. I don't know if there is plans again for it this year.

As far as visiting the FLL and FRC teams, the schedules will be tight. You'll be fairly busy with your matches. I remember last year when we went down as an FLL team we wanted to watch some of the FTC matches, but our schedule was just too tight. I assume the FTC schedule would be just as tight.

Feel free to email to call me if you need further information (just email me through Chief Delphi and I'll respond with my contact info).

dman14
03-16-2009, 10:14 AM
gratz 168, it was great to play with and against you, good luck in atlanta

Ricksta
03-16-2009, 10:26 AM
Pit setup and registration is on Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta. Make sure you are there for that.