Making a beautiful run for Berlin marathoners

More than 43,000 runners gathered on Sunday to test their personal limits against the 26.2-mile course of the Berlin Marathon. Among them, 51 runners were wearing smartwatches enabled with HERE software, part of a project designed to combine technology, data, and human performance into a work of art.

#MyBeautifulRun began when HERE challenged themselves to reach a new level in providing informative, compelling information to marathon participants and spectators alike. The concept derived from that challenge involved utilizing wearable tech to collect comprehensive data about a runner. The data would then be transformed into a visually alluring real-time projection.

 

 

The tech

The team began by building on top of the HERE IoT platform, which is called HERE Tracking. The system was designed to continuously provide highly accurate location updates, with enough flexibility to add custom data to each update. This enabled the project to track runners in real time, and include extended information like heartbeat and pace to the mix.

The next challenge was the wearable tech. HERE collaborated with Huawei, to load the newly built system onto their Huawei Watch 2 devices. The HERE Tracking technology on the watch collected our runners metrics and enriched them with live location data to provide a real time view of their progress and the status of their run.

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Human performance

HERE put out an open call for volunteers to wear a GSM smartwatch loaded with HERE Tracking technology.  In the end, over 1,200 applications from more than 60 countries were received.  Applicants ranged in skill levels from professionals to first-time marathoners.  After an extensive selection process, 16 women and 36 men were chosen to participate.

Included in the participants was James Dunne, a professional runner, coach, and rehab therapist.  As a coach, James was particularly interested in using data to prove and improve performance. 

“It’s rare that after one session you’ll feel that you're faster or fitter.  But, if you look back at the data you’ve gathered across 3, 6, 12 months, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come,” James said.

James and the other participants had their time, distance, heart-rate, number of steps, and GPS coordinates continuously sent to HERE Tracking.

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The art in the data

The app HERE designed made tracking more economical, enabling the system to remain accurate, without draining battery power.

The combination of data points reported over the course of the race reached over 49,000 pieces of data, which produced a unique picture of a marathon. HERE would like to thank all of the participants that helped make the Berlin Marathon such a beautiful run. 

Topics: Internet of Things, Marathon maps, Editor's picks, What HERE does

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