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Data Analysis Fundamentals: Setting Up Data Analysis Software

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Setting Up Data Analysis Software


00:00 - Before you can analyse your data, you first need to spend some time setting up the workspace in your chosen analysis software.
00:06 I absolutely recommend that you do this before you head to the track as it's important to sit down, spend the time, go through the help file and get familiar with the software if it's the first time you're using it.
00:18 The steps for setting up a piece of analysis software are going to be different depending on the brand of software that you're using.
00:23 Here I'm just going to go through generally and talk about the kind of displays we want to set up when you're getting started.
00:29 I'm going to leave examples of how to set up specific pieces of software to our worked examples section.
00:35 The first thing you should do when you're getting used to a new piece of software is to become acquainted with the help file.
00:41 This is where you'll find lots of really specific information to that software that'll help you get the most out of it.
00:46 The software I'll use for this demonstration is AiM's Race Studio Analysis.
00:50 This is the analysis software you'll be using if you're logging with any AiM product like the AiM Solo we discussed earlier in the course.
00:58 The focus of this course has been on analysing driver performance.
01:01 The main tool you'll be using to analyse the driver's performance is a time/distance plot.
01:07 The type of sensors you've got fitted to your car will depend on the channels you're displaying on that time/distance plot.
01:12 To start with the basics, if you have engine RPM, vehicle speed, lateral and longitudinal G force, you have enough to get started.
01:20 I've got these channels set up here in a really basic time/distance plot.
01:24 You'll see here as we're looking at driver performance I've got the X axis set up as distance and not time.
01:31 So here we've got our engine RPM, our speed, our lateral and longitudinal G force and we can go through and analyse this as required.
01:40 We've also got the ability to as you'd expect bring up overlays.
01:50 And we've also got the ability to look at these channels by lap colour rather than by the channel colour definition so that just makes it really easy to see which lap is which on all of the inputs.
02:02 You can see here we've got our faster lap time as blue and our other one as red.
02:07 So all of these channels here are now set up with that same convention and you'll see when we added that overlay it also gave us the time delta.
02:15 So the time delta channel is, if I get rid of that second channel it disappears.
02:22 If I add one of them back in, it comes back.
02:25 And as we discussed in the course, that time delta channel is going to be the most commonly used tool when we're looking for gains between two different laps.
02:33 If you've got some extra sensors fitted to your car, things like throttle position, brake pressure and maybe a gear position sensor then you can start to do a little bit more detailed driver analysis.
02:42 Here I've got the same data we were looking at previously but this is just with those extra channels I was talking about, here we've got the throttle position and the brake pressure.
02:50 One of the things I like to do regardless of which analysis software I'm using is always use the same colour convention and also the same layout.
02:58 So my preference is always to have engine RPM in red, I always have the base corrected speed channel in blue, the throttle as green, as in green for go, the brake is always in red, as in red for stop and I always have purple set as my gear position.
03:14 There's no right or wrong way to set up those colours.
03:17 I always just find it useful if I keep the same convention regardless of the software I'm using.
03:22 Here again if I was to select a lap to overlay and set that back to being coloured by lap rather than by the channel colour.
03:33 Now I can start to do a little bit more analysis here.
03:36 I can see that in red, the red lap is lifting off the throttle earlier and braking a little bit earlier.
03:43 There's also, because of the difference in gap between here and here, versus here and here, we see we've got a bit more coast time happening on the red lap.
03:50 Also as we move through here, if we look at the areas of largest loss, so we can see here at this first entry to this first corner is where a lot of the loss is happening.
04:01 Again here in this section of the lap and here later on in the lap where the red driver is being a lot slower to get back on the throttle and that is costing them time all the way down this next straight here.
04:15 One of the things you're always struggling for when setting up an analysis software is vertical space.
04:20 What I mean by vertical space is as you add more and more channels to a time and distance plot, each one of those channels has less vertical space to take up and the less space you have for each one, the more difficult it is to see all of the detail.
04:32 One of the things I like to do is to combine some channels where it makes sense and this allows me to make some of those channels be a little bit taller and just be a little bit easier to see.
04:41 So in AiM's software there's a couple of different ways you can set up your time/distance plots and we control them with these buttons up here.
04:48 So in the first mode, that means everything is stacked together.
04:51 The problem we normally have with stacking all of the channels on top of each other like this is if you've got any more than two channels it usually becomes completely unreadable as it's really difficult to follow each line.
05:01 That's not typically a system I use when I'm looking at driver data.
05:03 The baseline to start with is each one individually separated like this which is what I've got shown here and what I showed in the first example.
05:10 There is an option in between where we can mix them together and have some options about the order we display them.
05:16 What I normally do is have the throttle and brake overlaid on top of each other and every other channel that I went through there separated into its own line.
05:23 The reason you can usually get away with that is because you're usually only using the throttle pedal or the brake one at a time but you're not usually using both at the same time.
05:31 So they don't tend to overlap too much and it's usually pretty easy to see what's going on.
05:35 I'll show you how I set that up here.
05:36 So in AiM's software, the way this is set up is that there's this column here with these ones and twos and these are the row numbers that each part is going to be shown in.
05:45 So what I'm going to do is just modify these so first I'll get rid of the, recolour it back to normal.
05:52 So the ECU RPM, I want that in the first row again.
05:55 The speed is the second that's right.
05:57 I want to put the throttle pedal in the third row.
06:00 I also want to put the brake pedal in the third row and I want to put the gear in its own row down here.
06:10 So you can see straight away that's saved me quite a lot of space.
06:12 I've still got a little bit of tweaking to do here, I can still resize these.
06:16 I usually have the speed set quite large because that's one of the channels I do use a lot.
06:21 It's one of the channels I want to see the most detail in so I usually have that set as a reasonable size.
06:27 Same with the throttle and the brake and the gear can be nice and small like that.
06:33 So straight away here by setting it up like this you can see I've managed to make quite a lot more vertical space by not having the throttle and the brake on a separate line.
06:41 Here you can see it's allowed me to make these much bigger which does make it easier for me to see detail in the traces.
06:47 Here if I add another lap to overlay back in.
06:50 Just set the colour mode back to per lap.
06:54 So you can see it's still pretty easy to see what's going on here, it's not too difficult to pick up what's happening even though those two channels are overlaid.
07:01 This does come down to a lot of personal preference.
07:04 Some people don't prefer to look at it like this and they find it a little but confusing and this is particularly true if you're just new to data analysis or even just to a data analysis package.
07:13 Sometimes you'll find it a little bit easier just to keep things completely separated out and have that compromise on a little bit less vertical speed space.
07:19 Particularly if you're racing at a circuit you're not very familiar with, or if an engineer is working with a driver, you'll often have a track map set up next to the time/distance plot, this just helps give you a little bit more context about where you are on track when you're looking at a specific piece of data.
07:34 If I just start by making a little bit of space for a track map here.
07:36 Then I will show a track map here.
07:42 So we can see here as I move the cursor throughout the data, there's that smaller cross there moving through our track map.
07:48 So if I'm interested in a specific section of track, say this corner here and I'm going to zoom in a little bit on it here, it just helps me see exactly which part of the corner is being referenced on the track map.
08:00 So you can see how that would be really helpful if you're either not familiar with the circuit or if you're working with a driver that's not as used to looking at data.
08:08 Over time you do end up being more familiar with the specific profile of the speed trace in particular.
08:14 The speed trace is something that gives you a lot of context about what's happening with the car on track and it's something I make a lot of use of.
08:20 Once you're familiar with the speed trace of a certain circuit you'll usually know what part of the track you're looking at without even needing to reference the track map.
08:27 One of the things you want to avoid doing is having to manually go through and set up the commonly used views you'll use over and over again.
08:34 This means setting them up before you get to the track and it means when you want to look at a specific piece of data in the car, you won't need to spend time setting up that display each time, you can just go straight to it.
08:43 What I want to set up here is a pre defined time/distance graph for looking at my individual wheel speeds which will help me understand what's happening with either brake locking or wheel slip when we're on track.
08:55 So by pressing the space bar it brings up the channels that have got options to look at.
08:58 I'm going to do an overlapped, so I don't want to be looking at GPS speed or any of these, I just want to be looking at each one of my wheel speeds.
09:10 So same thing, as this is the first time setting this up I'm just going to go through and do my normal colour conventions.
09:14 So for me front left is always red, front right is always green.
09:19 My left rear is always blue and my right rear is always orange.
09:24 Setting up these colour conventions like this means that no matter what software I'm using, each corner of the car has its own specific colour so just by looking at the data traces, I know exactly which corner of the car that piece of data refers to, without having to read the legend.
09:38 So straight away, looking at all of this with my four wheel speeds plotted on top of each other, I can see the front left here has a little bit of inside front locking on the corner entry of this section here.
09:47 Same with a little bit later in the lap, certainly nothing major but straight away I can see it's the front left without even having to check my legend up here.
09:53 Once I've done that I can save this as a user profile so I can just save this as wheel speeds and that just means I can reload that at any time.
10:04 Having presaved displays like this is really important.
10:07 At the bare minimum I'd make sure you have your driver analysis page, your reliability page for checking engine pressures and temperatures and probably a channel report also pre set up so you can switch between them really quickly without having to make them from scratch each time.
10:21 One other part of the display that's available in almost all analysis packages is a section where it shows you all the laps for an entire run, usually at the bottom of the screen.
10:30 So I'll show you here how AiM do this.
10:32 There's a couple of different ways you can bring that up.
10:34 One is by pressing control spacebar.
10:36 And that just brings up all of the laps in the run we've got loaded so we can see the section that is highlighted here represents the lap, specific lap that we're looking at.
10:46 And you can go through and click others to get overlays.
10:50 So you can click and highlight as many as you like depending on what you're looking at.
10:54 The thing I find really useful about having this setup is it gives you a little bit more context so if you're looking at a long run, maybe a race with some pitstops you can see really specifically where in the run you're looking.