FISA Events Race Data Analyzer
Did you know that the international rowing association records speed and strokerate data for all races on World Rowing Cup regattas as well as the World Rowing Championships? FISA seems to be using a proprietary rowing telemetry system that has been exclusively developed to provide live information to TV broadcasts.
The system used at these regattas comes in a small grey box mounted to the front of every boat behind the bow number.
(Image courtesy of Die Ruderwerkstatt)
The provided race data includes speed and stroke-rate sampled every 50m as well as the split times of at 500m, 1500m and 2000m and positions. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could actually get a nice visualisation of the data to discuss race results? That’s what we though too, and decided this was a perfect match for our Analytics web application that we are happy to share for the benefit of the rowing community for free. So we headed off to write a simple tool that would allow us to automatically import the race data and display it in a special FISA Events section on Analytics. For starters we have imported all data from the World Championships 2013 as well as the World Junior Championships.
Analyzing World Cup Races
To analyze races, you can make a selection from the list of events that are available and use the search box on the top left to narrow down the list.
You can search by Nation using the appropriate three-letter code, e.g. searching “GER” would list all races with German crews participating. You can also enter the boat class, e.g. M8+ would give you all races of the mens eight. A really cool thing is that you can also search for a combination of Nation and place, e.g. “1. GER” would list all races that were won by a german crew. Click on any of the races to launch the race details.
Let’s take a look at the final of the Mens Eight at the 2013 World Cup in Chungju, South Korea. The chart shows Position, Strokerate and Speed over the course of the full 2000m race. As with rowing sessions recorded with our Apps, you can zoom and pan in the graph to look at critical parts of the race in more detail. Clicking the legend items will allow you to select and deselect the dataseries shown in the graph.
A table below the graph provides details on the official splits and timings, as well as the crew of each boat in a table below the times table.
Open Letter to FISA
We have tried to get an official statement from FISA as to whether they agree with this use of the data. Unfortunately, we have never received a response to our repeated requests so far. For the benefit of the rowing community, we hope to receive an affirmative response someday and would be especially grateful if FISA would provide that data under an open license like the creative commons licenses, that would allow anyone to use the data for creative projects. Until then, we’ll leave the Race Analyzer online, in good faith that we are not violating any terms or conditions set forth by FISA. If someone from FISA reads that, we’d be happy to get in touch with you.