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  1. #1
    GZA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    New Zealand

    GPS Event tracking

    Does anybody have any experience with GPS event tracking? It's something I'd like to add into our endurance racing, both from a safety perspective, and also for the guys sitting at the beach being able to see where there racer is compared to everyone else.
    I see us being able to track all the competitors in real time so we know where they are, maybe with a big screen on the beach for viewing.
    Is there a phone app that people use?
    I've talked to a couple of GPS companies over here who can do it, but want you to buy the tracker for upwards of $300 - not really viable for a once a year thing. They do have a great system though where the rider can call for help if he breaks down for example.


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    near Toronto, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by GZA View Post
    ... Is there a phone app that people use? ...
    A challenge with using smartphones to provide continuous location reporting is power consumption. The GPS system inside the phone uses battery power, as does the cellular data chipset, to send the location info. The more frequently the position data is updated and transmitted the more power is consumed.

    Running just on the phone's internal battery there may be enough power to last through the race but the battery may be getting quite low by the end. There is also a potential issue with heat, especially if the phone is inside a sealed waterproof case. Some smartphones are liable to get hot enough to force themselves to shut down or perhaps just disable the GPS functions.

    If an external power feed from the watercraft is provided to the smartphone that helps with the battery drain issue but does not help with the self-heating problem.

    $300 sounds pretty reasonable if the tracking device can actually provide the location updates as quickly as you need for a real time race situation.

    I am unaware of consumer grade software that is able to receive and display rapidly updated location information from multiple smartphones and show it on a custom course map.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Siesta Key, Fl
    If the map part should be fairly easy using the google API for its maps. Most GPS trackers will provide that data. It really comes down to the refresh rate of the coordinates from the device. If you are looking at an update every 15 seconds or so that is fairly intensive for the hardware and a lot of refreshing points on the map depending on the number of racers.

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