Olympics and GPS

This continues my previous post about GPS tracking. It’s interesting to note how many different ways tracking is being used at the olympic games.

During the cycling at the olympics it was reported that so many people were tweeting and sending photos and video that the GPS tracking on the cyclists was jammed.  This is not quite correct. The TV broadcasters (the Olympic Broadcasting Services) were supposed to have GPS tracking so they could see how far behind the leader each cyclist was.

I’ll assume you read the post below about GPS tracking. I think what happened here is that the cyclists had GPS transmitters, which were sending the GPS data to the TV broadcasters via a mobile phone network. So many people on the cycling route were downloading or uploading video and photos, and sending tweets and texts, that the mobile phone network was pushed to capacity and some of the GPS data was delayed.

According to the Guardian it could have been avoided – this article tells you who blames who.

Added: GPS tracking was also used in sailing.  Every boat and buoy had a GPS transmitter, and the positions were constantly tracked and portrayed on a screen that TV viewers could watch. Viewers could watch the positions change by the second. The company employed to provide this service is named Swiss Timing.  I don’t know how they gathered the signals, maybe they used local mobile phone masts.

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