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Data Analysis Fundamentals: Track Maps and Sectors

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Track Maps and Sectors


00:00 - One of the most powerful aspects of a modern logging system is the ability to create a track map in the analysis software and reference your data to a specific location on the track while you're performing your analysis.
00:13 This makes it much easier to visualise what's going on and where you can make improvements in your driving.
00:20 Of course before we can do any analysis, we first of all need to generate a track map and there are two options available for doing this.
00:28 The first is to use a timing beacon coupled with a wheel speed sensor and a lateral G force sensor.
00:34 After the first lap of the track has been completed, the log file will then have everything necessary to generate a track map.
00:40 There are however a few things to keep in mind when using this technique.
00:44 First of all it's important to have your lateral G sensor orientated correctly.
00:49 While it doesn't specifically matter if the G sensor shows a positive G force in a left or right hand corner, normal convention for data analysis is that positive lateral G occurs in a left hand corner.
01:03 This will trip you up if you generate a track map with the lateral G channel inverted because the track map will show a right hand corner where the track turns left.
01:12 This can be fixed relatively easily though and some analysis packages will offer the option to invert the lateral G force channel when you generate the track map.
01:21 Alternatively you can choose to scale your lateral G force channel by multiplying it by negative 1 which has the effect of giving us the inverse of the logged value.
01:32 The other issue with this technique occurs on racetracks with heavily banked corners.
01:37 In this situation some of the forces that would usually be lateral G force end up becoming vertical G forces.
01:45 So if the analysis package only accounts for lateral G force, we could end up with corners that don't show the true radius or worse still, corners may even be drawn as straight sections of track.
01:57 A solution to this problem is to create a math channel that essentially adds lateral and vertical G forces together and then use this channel to generate the track map.
02:07 If this is all starting to sound a little bit daunting, don't worry because there's a much simpler way of generating track maps that doesn't require any math channels and that's the use of GPS location.
02:19 As you'll see as we move through this course, GPS has become a cost effective and popular way of expanding our capabilities when it comes to data analysis.
02:29 Not only can it be used to provide lap timing data, but because the GPS antennae constantly updates the vehicle's position on track, it can be used to generate a track map with no other inputs and very little work from us.
02:43 As we will discuss in upcoming modules, seldom is anything perfect and there are some drawbacks to GPS in terms of accuracy.
02:51 Unless you're competing at a professional level of motorsport though, GPS is going to be more than sufficient for our purposes.
02:59 Regardless of what method you're using to generate a track map, it's important to understand that we are generating a map based off the line the car drove around the track rather than the specific radius of each corner.
03:12 Some analysis packages go a step further, allowing you to drive a lap on the inside edge of the racetrack and then the outside edge of the racetrack to essentially define the track limits.
03:24 The theory being that this will then allow analysis of the driving lines.
03:28 While the theory is sound, the accuracy provided by GPS can make this a questionable technique and if you want to study driving lines in detail, then you're better to consider adding video into your logging package.
03:41 Once we have the track map generating in our software package, we can use it to break down the track into sectors which allows more in depth analysis.
03:50 If we look at a software package like MoTeC's i2 software, the track is automatically broken down into straights and corners and the user can define a factor that will determine what the software considers to be a corner and what is considered to be a straight.
04:04 The idea behind this is that with a little work we can generate a track map that breaks the track down into the same number of corners and straights as the official track map for your racetrack.
04:16 This can be helpful because now when you're referencing turn 10 in your data, it actually corresponds to turn 10 on the real racetrack.