GPS Tracking Tested at 2014 Liberty Challenge

| June 25, 2014 | 2 Comments


The organizers of the Liberty Challenge have always looked to experiment with technology to enhance the viewership of the sport to levels previously unseen. We started tweeting live race updates at Liberty 2009. We launched a comprehensive race website for Liberty 2012. For the 2014 Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge, we added GPS tracking to our technological achievements to further expand the experience of the race in realtime to anyone around the world with a computer or mobile device.

Implementation of this new technology was left to a team of tech savvy Liberty Challenge volunteer engineers. Taking advantage of the fact that the Liberty Challenge is a race that is never more than a mile from shore with good cell phone coverage, Liberty Challenge engineers chose to work with Danish company TracTrac for its technology based on sending GPS data from transmitters on each canoe through GSM cell towers. TracTrac servers instantaneously processed the information and presented the data on a map of the race course.

The results allowed people around the world to participate in this year’s race by tracking their favorite teams in realtime as it unfolded showing location, speed, distance and relative lineup of each canoe along the entire course. Likewise, broadcasting over a monitor at Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 allowed festival goers and fans to track their teams. Additionally, the information is recorded allowing crews who competed to replay the women’s, men’s and mixed races for further analysis as a means to help improve performance.

It is the hope from all of us at the Hawaiian Airlines Liberty Challenge to use this technology as a means to further elevate the sport to a new level through increased viewership as well as providing hard data for athletes for strategic planning. We hope to continue experimenting with GPS technology and hope to see its spread to other outrigger races worldwide.

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