It is known as beacon to sign that, whether mobile or fixed, is installed in a place to carry out a warning or with the intention of guide vehicle traffic. The act of signaling with beacons is called beacon, while its result is called beaconing.
The beacons, in short, are elements that serve to warn about a possible danger or risk. Most beacons emit Light signals, although there are also beacons that are based on radio signals or in ultrasound signals.
In the field of navigation, beacons are used to mark various issues and guide vessels. A lighthouse, for example, it is a beacon that warns sailors about the proximity of the coast or a Island.
Skyscrapers, television or radio antennas, and power transmission towers may also have beacons on top so that they are easily visible. In this way the pilots of airplanes and helicopters are warned about these structures and the risks of accidents.
In some countries, it is mandatory that cars have portable beacons inside so that, in the event of a mechanical failure on a road (route), the driver makes the corresponding signaling, placing a beacon in front of the car and another behind.
The beacon is also called blinking light that warns about the detention of the car: “You go find Andrés: I’ll wait for you in the car at the school gate, with the beacons on”.
The concept of beacon also appears in the context of orienteering races, a sport that originated in Scandinavia and consists of timed tours carried out individually or in groups, in which each participant must have a compass and a map to find their way.
Throughout the course of a race of orientation A series of controls are placed through which the participants must pass (the latter must not know their location before the start of the competition). These points are marked with the so-called orientation beacons, and each runner can use a different route, using their own navigation methods.
Thanks to the use of a compass, competitors can plot their route to avoid going through the same point twice, unless they wish to do so. The most popular type of orienteering race is practiced on foot, although there is also the bike orientation, about skiing Y in kayak, among other.
In accordance with the provisions of the International Guidance Federation In its regulations, the orientation beacon is an element used to signal the controls and must have the shape of a prism rigid triangular covered with fabric. Each of the faces of the beacon must be square, with dimensions of 30 x 30 cm or 15 x 15 cm, depending on the characteristics of the playing space, and be divided into two triangles, one white and one orange.
Since the function of these beacons is help runners locate themselves on the map, it is very important that they are in easily visible points, and for this it is very useful to locate them at a certain distance from the ground. With respect to medium, both an artificial element (such as a fence) and a natural element (a branch of a tree) can be used. The decision of the type of support for the beacon must be made according to the characteristics of the terrain at each particular point of the race; For example, while on a dirt floor it is common to drive a stake, on the asphalt, wooden structures called borriquetas.