Unbeknown to some, various aspects of physical performance in sport can be measured by tracking a subject in question using the Global Positioning System as the primary tool for location determination. Some of these aspects of performance include top speed, average speed, distance covered, and acceleration.

Advances in technologies available for on-field sports performance have increased immensely in recent years. The use of motion analysis technology allows for individual monitoring and gives useful feedback for coaches and fitness staff. GPS technologies are amongst those offering good precision in performance analysis through position and velocity of motion. Many clubs already use GPS coupled devices for tracking players and analysing their fitness performance, both in training and on-the-field. These clubs use the SPI Elite device available from GPSports, and include 15 of the AFL teams, the Manly Sea Eagles NRL team, the Melbourne Victory Football Club and both the Australian and New Zealand Rugby Union sides.

Figure 1 Example of the graphs which can be determined using GPS-based technology

Figure 2 The players position can be tracked over the duration of a game.

The thesis engaged both fieldwork and post-processing of several data-sets. The fieldwork component involved collecting real match data using GPSports technology in a number of local touch football games, so as to achieve a good proportion of results for comparison. Post-processing of the data included breaking down and summarising this data to analyse for the various aspects of performance, identifying how powerful GPS based technology is in the sports analysis industry.

For the purpose of this thesis, it was determined that the SPI-Elite device available from GPSports would be used to undertake all data collection in this project. This is because the SPI Elite device is a small and robust unit tailored for use in many sporting applications, and by obtaining professional data from 1st grade AFL, direct comparison of results could be undertaken.

Thesis Supervisor: Senior Lecturer
School of Surveying & SIS
Location: EE Building 405
Ph.: +61 2 9385 4203 (office), +61 2 9385 4208 (lab)
Fax: +61 2 9313 7493

Daniel Kurzawa