GNSS receivers on course for sporting precision

By Spirent On May 18, 2012
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One of the fastest-growing sectors for the use of GNSS receivers is the sporting goods industry, where data from such devices are used for a wide range of activities, from analysing the workrate of footballers as they move around the pitch to keeping track of competitors in all manner of races.

One of the first sports to embrace the technology was golf, where GNSS receivers are used to plot the position of a player's ball in relation to a map of the hole that is being played. The map display will then tell the player his or her distance from any of the mapped features of the hole, such as the front of the green, a fairway bunker etc.

Many resort courses have taken this one step further by using a system with a GNSS beacon in the flag so that the player can see the exact distance required for the next shot. What's more, the technology has migrated into the mobile comms sphere with the release of a number of golfing apps for various smartphones.

However, GNSS-based golf rangefinders have experienced stiff competition of late from alternative devices that use low-cost infra-red laser technology to measure distance. And while laser rangefinders can be difficult to use and are no use for “blind” shots (where the player cannot see the pin), it is only through accuracy and reliability that GNSS receivers have been able to maintain market share.

Interestingly, two of the market leaders in the field have recently introduced hybrid systems that combine GNSS navigation with laser rangefinders to provide a complete solution on the golf course.

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