Chip timing for sports live tracking

Chip timing for sports live tracking

You are a time keeper or a race director and you want to provide Live Tracking with your timing equipment? We develop a tracking solution using data from the timing system to show a live visualization of the competition. In this project we work in tight collaboration with RACE RESULT. To verify our prediction model we tested the algorithm directly against GPS-Tracking at the 100km-Duathlon using one Decoder, one Management Box, ten Track Boxes, 350 Active Transponders and 55 GPS Trackers. Karl and Jens were monitoring and verifying the prediction model directly on the race ground.

   Timing hardware from race|result and Racemap GPS-Trackers   

   Timing hardware from race|result and Racemap GPS-Trackers   

Test-Scenario of chip-based Live-Tracking

The Competition: The 100km-Duathlon is a team competition. Every team consists of five athletes with four bikes. The team is supposed to move together during the race. That rule makes one athlete running and four athletes biking at the same time. Within the team the running position can be changed as often as needed corresponding to the strategy. Orientation is important as are only few markers direct the course.   

The Hardware:

  • one Decoder to detect the Start and Finish for precise results,
  • one Management Box to set up the active transponders,
  • every athlete is equipped with a transponder.
  • each team with a Racemap GPS Tracker, tracking interval of 15 sec
  • each tracker is marked with another chip for data verification.
  • in total 55 GPS-Trackers and 350 Transponders running for the test.
   Every GPS unit marked with an active transponder for a direct comparison of GPS Tracking against our prediction.

   Every GPS unit marked with an active transponder for a direct comparison of GPS Tracking against our prediction.

five chips and one GPS Tracker (marked with a sixth transponder) for each team

five chips and one GPS Tracker (marked with a sixth transponder) for each team

  • Along the race course of 100 km Jens deploys ten Track Boxes to capture the passing athletes. Depending on local conditions the detection radius of a box is approx 150 m.
  • During the race Jens moves five boxes from the start to the end of the track.
  • That makes 17 possible reads for the prediction model considering Start and Finish detections.
  • The 1st and the 2nd box is placed at 1 and 2 km, then an equal distance of approx 7 km between the boxes.
  • As the athletes don't know where the boxes are, detections happen unnoticed, unlike the SPORTident system.

As the Track Boxes are small, lightweight, magnetic and working with an internal battery they can be used extremely flexible. Its just easy to set up the tracking system.

Results of GPS-Tracking

The GPS recording of the race is streamed in the interactive Tracking Map, which gives you an overview and interesting details like strategy and mistakes of the competition. Just watch the GPS replay of the event.

Results of Chip-Tracking

Our test shows how easy active transponders enable a flexible and comprehensive athlete tracking through RACE RESULT Track Boxes. Based on the Chips our prediction model has data from every athlete and we are able to directly compare the GPS- against Transponder-Tracking. The replay in the following Tracking Map showa more information as the map above - black: GPS-Tracker, dark grey: Active Transponder fixed to a GPS-Tracker, 🔻: Track Box

And additional the Visualization for Team 1 only

  • Transponders (grey) conforming well with GPS data (black). The test shows that our prediction model is working well.
  • If a team loses the track, this cannot be covered by the transponder, e.g. Team 7 at 1:10 h:mm. The algorithm is moving the flag along the race track.

The chip data visualize the behavior of individual athletes in a team. In the following map, the white flags display the transponder of every single athlete.


The Decoder at start and finish and the Track Boxes at 15 locations along the track enables a scoring list with 16 sections.

  • Time difference within a team for a specific split shows, how far team is divided. At uphill sections growing distance in a team.
  • Time difference between box locations shows fastest and slowest team in a section between two boxes.

Additional to the professional timing solution we tested our new GPS-Timing feature, which works live with data of GPS-Units (GPS-Tracker or Racemap Tracking App) in combination with the race course (*.gpx-file). To compare Racemap GPS-Timing against the professional hardware solution we set 15 virtual splits at the exact same locations of the Track Boxes.

The comparison of GPS-Timing and the professional timing solution shows

  • GPS-Timing offers results with low budget and low effort
  • Accuracy of about 1 min depending on the tracking interval of GPS device
  • Same sequence of scoring with GPS-Timing