Applications of GPS Technologies to Field Sports

Aughey R.J.

Global positioning system (GPS) technology became possible after the invention of the atomic clock. The first suggestion that GPS could be used to assess the physical activity of humans followed some 40 years later. There was a rapid uptake of GPS technology, with the literature focusing on validation studies and the measurement of steady-state movement. The first attempts to validate GPS for field sport applications occurred in 2006. While GPS has been validated for applications in team sports, some doubts persist regarding its appropriateness for measuring short, high-velocity movements. Nevertheless, GPS has been extensively applied in Australian football, cricket, hockey, rugby union and league, and soccer. The literature contains extensive information on the activity profile of athletes from field sports derived from GPS, including total distance covered by players and distance in velocity bands. GPS systems have also been used to detect fatigue in matches, identify periods of most intense play, and differentiate activity profiles by position, competition level, and sport. More recent research has integrated GPS data with the physical capacity or fitness test scores of athletes, game-specific tasks, or tactical and strategic information. The future of GPS analysis will involve further miniaturization of devices, longer battery life, and integration of other inertial sensor data to more effectively quantify athletes’ efforts.

View this research