Global Positioning System and Sport-Specific Testing

Larsson, P.

Background: Most physiological testing of athletes typically occurs in controlled laboratory settings. However, field testing offers the advantage of assessing athletes in their natural sporting environment, though it is often hindered by numerous uncontrollable variables. The advent of differential global positioning system (dGPS) technology has emerged as a solution to these challenges by offering precise monitoring of an athlete’s position and speed during outdoor activities. This technology allows for accurate control of two critical performance factors in endurance athletics: inclination and speed.

Objective: To explore the potential of dGPS in improving the accuracy and applicability of physiological field testing by combining it with other bio-measurements.

Methods and Applications:

dGPS Technology: dGPS can track an athlete’s position and speed with high precision during outdoor activities, thus enabling detailed performance analysis.
Combination with Metabolic Gas Measurements: dGPS can be combined with metabolic gas measurements to provide a comprehensive understanding of an athlete’s performance, including their metabolic responses.
Integration with Accelerometry: The combination of accelerometry with dGPS has shown improvements in the accuracy of physiological field testing. Accelerometers can provide detailed data on movement patterns and intensities, which, when paired with dGPS data, offer a holistic view of an athlete’s performance.
Potential Combinations with Other Biomeasurements:
Electromyography (EMG): Monitoring muscle activity in conjunction with dGPS can give insights into muscle performance and fatigue during field activities.
Cycling Cadence and Power: In cycling, combining dGPS with cadence and power measurements can enhance the understanding of cycling efficiency and biomechanics.
Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Monitoring: dGPS could be valuable in monitoring patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases during outdoor physical activities, potentially providing data that are more representative of everyday challenges faced by these patients.
Conclusion: The integration of dGPS with various bio-measurements holds significant potential for enhancing the accuracy and relevance of physiological testing in the field. This approach not only benefits sports science by allowing more precise monitoring of athletic performance in natural settings but also extends its utility to general exercise physiology and patient monitoring. Future research should explore the full potential of dGPS in combination with other technologies to develop robust, field-based testing protocols that can replace or complement traditional laboratory tests.

View this research