Indoor Rowing race visualisation

In December 2014 the NKIR / Euro-Open indoor rowing approached us if we could develop a system which would provide live tracking and online streaming of their indoor rowing competition. A decision was made to use animated virtual boats which smoothly move along the course instead of the periodically screen update as known from the Concept2 Venue Racing Application. Furthermore the sorting of crews by distance is visually supported by smoothly moving the crews up and down. For spectators it is therefore emphasized what is happening and viewers can more easily see what is going on. During a neck and neck race you will constantly see the crews moving up and down the virtual leaderboard.

Currently we display the strokes per minute, the crew’s pace, distance and also the affiliated club. By using a popover information about the individual rowers in a crew is shown. You will find the person’s travelled distance, their 500m pace, the strokes per minute and their speed in meters per second. Specifically for team races this information is interesting since you can easily see which person in a crew moves most meters.

Besides the online tracker for the people at home, Time-Team offers broadcast graphics for projection in the arena. These graphics use the same technology as the tracker for the people at home. For broadcast you can make your own selection of displayed crews. The graphics can easily be combined with video footage. We made the design split screen so we can accommodate up to 64 ergs on a full HD screen. We also offer a pace boat feature which can show the winner of the last heat, or the record holder virtually competing against the rowers. The public can therefore easily see if someone is beating the record times.

Other features of the advanced Indoor Rowing race visualisation:

  • Names can have accented characters, can be longer than 13 characters and could even be in Chinese or Japanese character set;

  • Better readability and color customisation: we have optimised the layout and colors for visualisation on big screens. We can easily make changes to the layout, fonts, font-sizes and colors in order to get the best experience onsite;

  • Smooth movement of the boats: instead of letting the boats jump to their location every one or two seconds, we interpolate the available data points and smoothly transition the boats to their location;

  • Visualised ranking: in order to visualise the catching up on the rower ahead, we are making a smooth transition in ranking. This catches the eye and makes sure the spectators see that one is being caught up. At the several events we have done so far, this visualised ranking always causes the audience to make an extra cheer when they see the ranking happening, especially near the end of an exciting race;

  • Ranking within event: ranking in our software is done within event category. This means that if multiple events are racing in a single heat, there will be a block of same-coloured boats in which their respective ranking is being done;

  • 64 ergs on a single full HD screen;

  • Live streaming on internet;

  • Clear indication of which crew is competing in which event;

  • Virtual competitors for multiple heats or records: for the screens onsite we have the possibility to add an additional “pace boat” which is a virtual competitor. With this, we can for example show the average speed of the record holder for an event, so it is instantly visible for the spectators if a rower is ahead or behind the current standing record time. This feature is also often being used when multiple heats for the same event category are held. When more rowers enter a category than available ergs, the time of the winner of the earlier heat can be used to project an extra boat in the later heat to show if the winner of the earlier heat is still first.

  • Multiple separate screens: due to the distributed nature of our software solution, it is easy to give multiple different outputs for several screens, even though one single instance of the VRA is being used. This way you could use several projected screens with each displaying a subset of the competitors if necessary.

A one minute video compilation displaying the possibilities of our visualisation can be viewed below.

Our all-in-one race management system and advanced visualization has been used during the 2018 European Rowing Indoor Championships, the French Indoor Rowing Championships Paris, the Amsterdam Ergohead and also at the C.R.A.S.H.-B. Indoor Rowing Championship in Boston.