Space, Satellites and Sports

01 July 2014

With everyone’s attention focused on the World Cup in Brazil, people might not be taking the time to look up. But up there above the football pitches in Brazil – and sporting facilities across Europe – are European GNSS satellites providing a range of services to sports.

On the occasion of world’s ‘biggest sporting event’, and in conjunction with the European Space Expo in Prague, the EuropeanJOHAN tracks footballers using satellite navigation. Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA) took the opportunity to highlight the many innovative applications powered by EGNOS and Galileo that support, enhance and increase the safety of sports and leisure activities.

During a special event for European Space Solutions Conference participants, the European Space Expo showcased a selection of the exciting sport-specific applications currently on the market.

“Innovative space technologies are having a tremendous impact on all aspects of our lives,” said GSA Executive Director Carlo des Dorides. “Sports is a case in point, and the numerous companies showcased here tonight are a testament to the vast potential of space.”

Get Motivated

Exercise reward platform Bounts aims to motivate people to exercise more. Since its launch in 2012, the application boasts over 250,000 users who are earning points for getting active. Points are redeemable for discounts on big name brands and treats at local establishment. 

The application uses geo-fencing to track simple things like attendance at a gym and the time and effort put in. It uses close proximity beacons and GNSS to deliver solutions to various applications that allow people to interact with outdoor exercise equipment, attend programmes and be rewarded for their efforts. Most importantly, the programme is getting results: research shows that people using Bounts are 30 percent more likely to keep exercising.

Better Field Performance

MESSI - HP, not to be confused with the Argentine footballer, is anMESSI - HP monitors and tracks players during training and competitions. innovative system for monitoring and tracking players during training and competitions. It utilises micro-devices containing a GNSS receiver, communication antenna and battery that are embedded into a player’s shin guards.

From here it sends high-precision navigation messages in real-time to a dedicated terminal, where a software programme processes and displays the data to the coaching staff. This information can then be used to:

  • Verify athletes’ performances and the correct application of predefined strategies
  • Improve the monitoring of the team’s condition
  • Check match statistics
  • Decide proper solutions or changes to apply during a match
  • Support television broadcasting of matches

Billed as the digital oracle of field sports, JOHAN makes tracking and analysis of field sports available to a larger market. The 2013 European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) Special Prize Winner markets small, wearable GNSS devices capable of precisely tracking players based on GPS with EGNOS correction. In the future it will also utilise Galileo.

JOHAN transforms the captured data into useful information that coaches and players can use to improve physical performance and tactics. In April of this year, the project performed its first successful test using satellite navigation to track a football player.

Similarly, KINEXON ONE, which won last year’s Grand Prize at the ESNC, provides real-time location and motion sensing that also detects the condition and status of athletes. The core of the system is a lightweight sensor for centimetre accurate 3D position data. In addition to location data, the sensor also detects the orientation and motion of people and objects. For the localisation in outdoor environments, the sensor integrates GNSS data using EGNOS. A cloud-based smart analytics application transforms the data and provides the user with valuable intelligence.

In the sporting arena, KINEXON ONE serves as a portable athlete monitoring system. A tablet PC provides coaches with real time insights into the performance, tactics, technique and health of athletes and teams. Coaches can then measure, analyse and improve athletes’ performance and realise their full potential. Furthermore, dedicated statistics help prevent injuries and support the rehabilitation process.

For Smoother Sailing

For yachting enthusiasts, COSMEMOS is improving navigation by using EGNOS COSMEMOS used EGNOS and Galileo to improve navigation.and Galileo to provide dynamic re-routing and safety assistance.

“The programme’s services are driven by the needs of leisure navigation,” says Enrico Barro,
Programme & Business Development Manager. “It will provide for weather related assistance to yachts based on actual weather conditions and precise short-term forecast for improving navigation safety and optimising routes in cruising and in coastal and offshore regattas.”




“Innovative space technologies are having a tremendous impact on all aspects of our lives, and sports is a case in point.”
Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director, GSA


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More information:

The European GNSS Agency
European Space Solutions Conference 2014

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