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Assessment of speed of human locomotion using a differential satellite global positioning system

SCHUTZ, YVES; HERREN, RENÉ

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2000 - Volume 32 - Issue 3 - p 642-646
APPLIED SCIENCES: Biodynamics

SCHUTZ, Y., and R. HERREN. Assessment of speed of human locomotion using a differential satellite global positioning system. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 642–646, 2000.

Purpose: The objective was to explore whether a satellite-based navigation system, global positioning system used in differential mode (DGPS), could accurately assess the speed of running in humans.

Methods: A subject was equipped with a portable GPS receptor coupled to a receiver for differential corrections, while running outdoors on a straight asphalt road at 27 different speeds. Actual speed (reference method) was assessed by chronometry.

Results: The accuracy of speed prediction had a standard deviation (SD) of 0.08 km·h−1 for walking, 0.11 km·h−1 for running, yielding a coefficient of variation (SD/mean) of 1.38% and 0.82%, respectively. There was a highly significant linear relationship between actual and DGPS speed assessment (r2 = 0.999) with little bias in the prediction equation, because the slope of the regression line was close to unity (0.997).

Conclusion: the DGPS technique appears to be a valid and inconspicuous tool for “on line” monitoring of the speed of displacement of individuals located on any field on earth, for prolonged periods of time and unlimited distance, but only in specific environmental conditions (“open sky”). Furthermore, the accuracy of speed assessment using the differential GPS mode was improved by a factor of 10 as compared to non-differential GPS.

Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lausanne, CH-L005 Lausanne, SWITZERLAND

Submitted for publication December 1998.

Accepted for publication February 1999.

Address for correspondence: Y. Schutz, Institute of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lausanne, Rue du Bugnon 7, CH-L005 Lausanne, Switzerland. E-mail: Yves.Schutz@iphysiol.unil.ch.

©2000The American College of Sports Medicine