Interview with Trac Trac

8/7/2010 17:48 

Skandia Sail for Gold will host tracking across more courses and classes than ever before, we caught up with Danish company Trac Trac to find out a bit more about how it all works....

Can you explain how the tracking systems work?

The TracTrac tracking system consists of three elements: Tracking units, tracking server and Race Viewer. The tracking units are small-integrated GPS/GSM-devices. The unit receives GPS-satellite-signals like any other GPS-receiver, calculates current position/heading/speed every 2-3 seconds and passes on the information to the tracking server through a (wireless) GPRS-connection. The tracking server receives, filters, stores and distributes tracking data to spectators on the web, TV-graphic-production-entities, Race Management and other IT-suppliers.

The Race Viewer is an internet-browser-based java-aplett that runs on all standard PC's and allows for the public to watch all racing in real time or in replay (provided they have internet access). Watching the Race Viewer the user get access to a birds eye view, a real-time dynamic leaderboard that reflects all changes
in the race and a comprehensive analysis module with performance data of all competitors on every leg of the race.

Examples from VOLVO RYA Youth Nationals can be found here:

User manual can be found here:

The tracking units are getting increasingly reliable in terms of stable data delivery and maintenance of wireless communication. At the same time production prices have come down as the competition between manufacturers is fierce. The units are becoming smaller over time, - but there’s a lower limit defined by the size/weight of battery given the duration of the race days. The units we use now weighs approximately 79 grams.

TracTrac do not produce own tracking units but monitors the market to be able to deliver the best units meeting the requirements (functionality, dimensions and price) of the particular sport. Based on the benchmark testing we've carried out we find that there is quite big difference in quality of the units currently available.

How does the tracking combine with the 3D animation?

TracTrac has developed an API (interface) that allows for 3'rd parties to receive all tracking data in real time and present the information as they prefer. This allows for presentation in well known 3D-Sailing Race Viewers like the ones developed by BeTomorrow, Virtual Spectator and Virtual Eye. More to the boat- and mark-position information, the API includes all mark rounding information and other agregated data to be retrieved.

How many events do you now cover?

In 2010 we expect to cover 50 major events. If including the events covered by the use of our TracTrac Club service it is many more.

How do you see tracking evolving in the future?

We believe that live tracking will develop into being a commodity put to use at most regattas around the world. In TracTrac we're pushing hard to make our technology as easy to use as possible and with the versatility needed to be able to cover all kinds of race formats. With our tracking event management system and variations of the TracTrac Race Viewer we're now able to cover Fleet Racing, Match Racing,

(with on-the-fly leaderboard calculation of all variations of time-on-time, and time-on-distance correction), distance sailing events and cross ocean events (using satellite transmission).

One important aspect worth mentioning is that putting live tracking to use requires the regatta organization to implement a number of routines involving the race management, the race course, the web-site-responsible and the on-shore logistics to ensure a successful tracking presentation. After previous experiences working alongside the RYA at events such as the Skandia Sail for Gold we appreciate that this has been dealt with professionally and been taken care of right from the beginning. It takes a combination of many factors to make this posisble.

The live tracking setup at Skandia Sail for Gold 2010 is the largest and most complex in terms of number of boats, classes and race courses areas the sailing world has ever seen and TracTrac look forward to the challenge of providing this service in August.


9-14 August 2010
Notice of Race


9-14 August 2010

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