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Int J Sports Med. 2015 Jan;36(1):49-53. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1385866. Epub 2014 Sep 25.

Accuracy of GPS devices for measuring high-intensity running in field-based team sports.

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S. S. MAPEI srl, Human Performance Laboratory, Olgiate Olona, Italy.
Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy.
Faculty of Exercise Sciences, Department of Sport, Università degli Studi di Milano, Nutrition and Health Sciences, Milan, Italy.
S. S. MAPEI srl, Human Performance Laboratory, Castellanza, Italy.
Training Check Juventus, Juventus Football Club, Turin, Italy.
School of Leisure, Sport & Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.
School of Leisure, Sport & Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, Lindfield, Australia.


We compared the accuracy of 2 GPS systems with different sampling rates for the determination of distances covered at high-speed and metabolic power derived from a combination of running speed and acceleration. 8 participants performed 56 bouts of shuttle intermittent running wearing 2 portable GPS devices (SPI-Pro, GPS-5 Hz and MinimaxX, GPS-10 Hz). The GPS systems were compared with a radar system as a criterion measure. The variables investigated were: total distance (TD), high-speed distance (HSR>4.17 m·s(-1)), very high-speed distance (VHSR>5.56 m·s(-1)), mean power (Pmean), high metabolic power (HMP>20 W·kg(-1)) and very high metabolic power (VHMP>25 W·kg(-1)). GPS-5 Hz had low error for TD (2.8%) and Pmean (4.5%), while the errors for the other variables ranged from moderate to high (7.5-23.2%). GPS-10 Hz demonstrated a low error for TD (1.9%), HSR (4.7%), Pmean (2.4%) and HMP (4.5%), whereas the errors for VHSR (10.5%) and VHMP (6.2%) were moderate. In general, GPS accuracy increased with a higher sampling rate, but decreased with increasing speed of movement. Both systems could be used for calculating TD and Pmean, but they cannot be used interchangeably. Only GPS-10 Hz demonstrated a sufficient level of accuracy for quantifying distance covered at higher speeds or time spent at very high power.

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