The end of dodgy offside decisions 4


I was chatting with Mike Sanderson of 1spatial last week at Where2.0Now about the potential of geo-rules in his company’s Radius Studio.

Somehow (can’t think how) the conversation managed to get to football and he said that it would be easy to write the offside rules into Radius if only you knew where the players are at any point in time (and where the ball was). Ubisense‘s real time location tracking would seem to be the answer to that offering sub second tracking at high accuracy.

So it could be that two veterans of the geospatial industry could hold the answer to all of those disputed offside decisions. Just need an enlightened football authority to run some tests.

And a happy 40th birthday to 1spatial (formerly Laser-Scan).


4 thoughts on “The end of dodgy offside decisions

  • Andrew Zolnai

    I seem to recall that hockey pucks used to be tracked via RFID I think, to highlight them (with flame trails proportionate to their speed!) on screen for TV broadcasts. Wouldn't that have enough spatio-temporal density to track your conundrum? Then again I don't see those anymore, or @ tennis matches, so perhaps that tech didn't survive (I hope Ed doesn't read this, lest you-know-goo might pick it up next).

  • Steven

    I am sure you are right peter but how could I turn down the opportunity to get football and geo into the same post?

  • Peter Batty

    Hi Steven, we did look at this type of application when I was at Ubisense (and telling whether the ball has crossed the goal line too). But you need higher spatial and temporal resolution than you might think, it turns out to be pretty tricky. A top athlete sprinting will do around 10m a second, so you would need 20 readings a second per person (which is challenging) to get within half a meter. And you're looking at 15-30cm spatial accuracy with Ubisense. So cumulatively you could easily be a couple of feet out for these kind of very fast moving applications, which certainly isn't good enough for goal line decisions and not really for close offside decisions either. There is a lot of potential to use Ubisense for other sports applications though, like stats for training or actual games (how far and fast does each player run, how far does a defender get from the attacker he's marking, etc), and for automatic camera tracking.

    I think that video based technologies like Hawk-Eye, which is now widely used for tennis and cricket, are probably a better bet for the "offside" application, though that is more complex than the goal line application, which is what they seem more focused on.

    I think we're still some way away from being deprived of the opportunity to argue over poor refereeing decisions in the pub 🙂 !!

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