Technology Innovation sponsors new River Quest race tracking software
Whitehorse – If you go to the 2012 Yukon River Quest website and click on “Race Tracker” you’ll find the result of three years planning, testing and programming by Yukon-based software programmer Peter Coates.
Click on any of the teams listed down the side and an info-graphic pops up on the map showing where the team is located. Zoom in and you will see where that team is relation to the other teams. Underneath the map, 17 spreadsheets breaking down the various race categories are updated in close to real-time with athlete times and locations.
This years’ race is the first field test of this new software, which works with Spot personal tracker technology to track each of the 68 teams, their canoes and kayaks - updating competitor locations every 15 minutes on the race website via Google maps.
Coates created the software from scratch and designed it to be more than just a race tracker. It also has a front-end system to register the racers and allow them to submit race fees online, as well as statistic reporting and race certificate generation for the post-race awards ceremony.
"It really pains me to see work being done by hand, when it can be done by a computer," said 57-year-old Coates, a former Sun Microsystems programmer who now works at the Software Development Centre in Whitehorse. He first visited the Yukon in 2000 and competed in the River Quest in 2001 and 2002, before moving here from Los Angeles in 2003.
Coates developed the software with support from Technology Innovation at the Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College which provided a $20,000 grant and guidance to help Coates turn this into a marketable product for export around the world.
Having proven itself in the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race, the next step for Coates is to have the software picked up by other events. He has already received interest in using the software from a voyageur canoe race in Saskatchewan and our own Yukon Quest.
"This software is perfect for any multi-day, endurance or ultra-race, anywhere in the world," said Stephen Mooney, Yukon Research Centre. "Peter is a brilliant programmer and it is vital we support this kind of innovative software and technology development in the Yukon."