So im not even sure if this is possible, but ill give it a shot and see what people think. This year we are running scouting in the stands through either MS Excel or Access so that it can be run through Tableau. Our current setup requires all 6 scouts to have forms to fill out while the 7th inputs them into the database, then an 8th person runs a USB flash drive back and forth to the pits whenever we want to update where we have the Tableau program running. I got the idea while in my web design class today, would it be possible to have an HTML form running on cell phones or other 3g/4g enabled device that when the submit button is pressed, it sends the data to the database that will be either on our team website or in the cloud, which i can then open on my laptop in our pit(usb tethered to my phone)? The html file itself wont be online(but maybe i could put that on our website too) but rather stored on each of the phones. Ideas/criticisms welcome ::rtm::
A couple of years ago we did something very similar to this approach. I set up a “Google Form” that any of the scout could run from any smartphone. They would enter the data for each robot/match. This data was stored in a google spreadsheet. Every 5 matches or so, I would download the data into excel (via a tethered hotspot) and then read it with a similar tool to Tableau (QlikView). Now we use an in-house developed Android app that loads data into a SQL database, but is still read via the dashboard. Hope this helps.
That actually helps a lot. And here I am trying to over complicate things again with HTML and such. So did you have to re download the excel data every time or would you just be able to refresh if you have the Google drive installed?
I’m glad it helps! I took the programming easy route and just reloaded the entire data set. It didn’t take but 3 or 4 seconds, so I didn’t worry about trying to just load the new records. At the time, I didn’t have Google Drive installed, so I might do it differently now if that was what we are doing now.
The simplest way to do this is to have an HTML based input page that sends the form data to an SQL database. To read the data, you can use PHP and do almost any type of analysis you would like. Very simple and straightforward.
If you don’t want to deal with an internet connection, you can run a simple WAMP server (or equivalent) on a laptop and connect all the scouting laptops together using an ethernet switch. It will run exactly like a website server, except on a laptop. We ran a system like this at IRI, Fall Classic, Battle at the Border, and CVR.
There is a learning curve involved, but the FRC community is an amazing resource.
We are taking a similar approach this year, but opting to store all the information in a MySQL database in the cloud (as well as the entire website). Of course, the downfall of this is that without a cellular connection we’re sort of screwed.
Eventually I’d like to integrate Tableau, but we’re just working with a simpler graphing plugin right now. I might run it locally off my laptop for the next competition if we can’t get a good internet connection. It does make scouting much easier to just eliminate paper entirely. We also have an interactive system for data entry and automatically generated statistics based on teams.
We’re doing something similar for our scouting system this year. We have a Raspberry Pi running a web server that hosts the HTML forms, and when you submit, the data gets stored in a MySQL database on the Pi. We’ve got web pages for data visualization and match prediction, as well as an Android app that we wrote for our coach’s tablet that can grab the latest data from the database and then be used for strategy anywhere after being disconnected. Basically what this means is that any device with a web browser and an ethernet connection can be used to scout. We ordered some Chromebooks for our scouts to use in the stands. We’re actually working on a final version to release to teams in the next week, so I’ll be posting about that soon.
I tossed together a quick AngularJS app for talking to Parse.com to store my data (debated hitting Google Docs but Parse was just easy). Maybe I’ll clean it up and open source it this weekend.
Thanks for all the reply’s. For now it looks like im going to test out the google form method and see if i get the desired effects in tableau that i can get with access. We will be trying the MySQL method but probably wont have it completed before Peachtree. Im almost positive we will have a good cellular connection in the middle of Atlanta but you never know, so we will keep the access method i had come up with before as a backup
One issue here is I’ve never been to an event with a solid data connection. Your system is entirely dependent on that, and will cause headaches and frustration at game time.
Simpler, less dependent solutions I’ve seen were applications that store the data locally and then push the data to a local server by the push of a button. You’re on a good path with using HTML and <form> tags, though. This would also eliminate the 8th person; the 7th person’s job is handled by computers, making more people available for other important jobs at competition. Additionally, you can setup Tableau on the local server, and print out data for your upcoming matches to run down to the pits, eliminating extra time needed to process the data in the pits, while still making the data available for developing strategy.
My old team tried everything, Sql servers, excel spreadsheets, etc. and at the end of the year we always resorted back to paper and pens. Yes, we had the OPR data and raw match data ran through a excel database much like Ed’s, but real match scouting was paper and pens. Sorry tree huggers, I have to admit I love killing the trees if it meant getting clean scouting forms.
Wait… what does this have to do with the thread?
I am just saying we tried using computer to aid with scouting, and it didn’t work for us. I am just letting other teams know that if html scouting doesn’t work, paper is a wonderful alternative.
Our team developed a html/js scouting application that wrote .csv files for each match and could also collect every match.csv file to compile a “master” file which has data about each robot based on the match data. Worked pretty well at our last district.
You can also eliminate the person who runs down to the pits by storing it on a server. Although that depends on data as well. As for data issues,storing to disk can help. That way, if it’s a temporary issue, you can upload it later, or if it’s a major issue, print it or run a laptop/tablet to the pits.
Our team does something similar to this. We haven’t had issues with cell data yet.
Here is a test google form i put together https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fCbnNuZ4Nm3fmLhvJpVwwFkOy8eAaQzfm0PK9DDVMhM/viewform if people can fill out the form with test data that would be great. Because it is just test data if you could keep the “match number” field to any number under 20 and for “team number” keep it any number under 1000 all other fields just keep realistic(no ones going to be scoring 9999999 points in a match). If you have any suggestions/criticisms/things i should add please put them in the “notes” section
How should I be judging the coordinates fields, and “Points Made”? I’ve seen teams score way more than 10 points, and there is not enough information to make a good judgement on coordinates (relative to where, what unit to use).
the scouts up in the stands will have a gridded off picture of the playing field. i would want to know where on the field the robot shot from the most. I will probably get rid of the “points made” field. originally it was going to say how many total points the team made excluding assists. I may change it to ask what their total contribution to the alliance was as far as points(1 high goal, 1 assist, and 1 truss shot would be 10+10+5=25)
On the form, “Points Made” said 0-10, so I was confused.
Actually, 1 assist is worth 0 pts/robot. 2 is worth 5 pts/robot, and 3 is worth 10 pts/robot. You’ll want to consider this.
Fixed. I took that field out