Merit of old scouting data

We (Team 100) have begun properly using scouting data as of this past season. I say properly because before we were collecting data, but never using it for anything. As such, we have a bunch of data on each team that is specific to last season. Is there any reason to keep this old data, or should we just get rid of it and start with a clean slate for next season?

It can be good to get a baseline of how you think teams will do going into an event, put past that any pre-event scouting its not that useful as teams can change wildly from year to year. Its not a terrible idea to hold onto it (assuming its digital) just in case some discussion about a previous year comes up and you want to go back and check data, but its better in an archive if you do save it.

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I doubt you will use it, get rid of it.

This season be sure to collect useful actionable data so data collection makes sense.

As for overall past performance (Historic) that is a useful item to consider.
If the team makes eliminations/worlds before , they are very likely to win in the future. If they never make eliminations, then they are unlikely to do so in the future.

Teams generally are what they are season to season

According to @Caleb_Sykes, he got the highest predictive power by assuming that teams are:

56% of the team they were the year prior
24% of the team they were 2 years ago
20% an “average” team

(Source)

Obviously there is some correlation between how teams did last year and how they’ll do this year; there are teams that do very well every year and those that do poorly every year. Those teams are likely not the ones you’ll have trouble scouting though. The hardest part of scouting is distinguishing between the teams that sometimes build 70th percentile robots and sometimes 40th percentile. When making a picklist, most teams put consider previous success as somewhere between a minor factor and not at all, and that can be found from a quick search on TBA. Whether a team could complete six or seven cycles last year is irrelevant.

All this to say: if keeping your old data in a separate archive is easy for you, then by all means do it. It may be useful for reference at some point in the future. But I wouldn’t expect to need it for scouting decisions in future years.

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I think all the data that I keep is digital and connected to some analysis or models that I’ve worked on. I pretty quickly recycle any paper products, because it is just clutter and won’t get worked on. I’d consider also discarding unprocessed (raw) digital scouting data too, unless I thought I was going to find time to analyze to practice ideas or skills for the next season.

YES! You said you never used this data for anything so the off season (aka now) is the PERFECT time to learn how to do stuff with that data. Sure it’s from last season but who cares? Load it into Tableau and start analyzing it! If you don’t know how, this is the perfect time to learn and there a some FRC specific videos on YouTube. Also, Tableau is free to students so you don’t need to worry if you don’t already have it–it’s a free download.

If you think Tableau is too fancy/advanced for you, you can always start in Excel. The first few years our team took scouting seriously, we used Excel. You can search here on CD for some scouting excel templates like this one or you can just search Google.

Lastly- don’t feel like you have to do this alone. I use Excel a lot for my day job so when my team wanted to take scouting seriously I offered to teach them all I know. So ask your mentors or even some parents and I’m certain you will find one willing to teach you all they know about analyzing data in Excel!

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I get keeping it for the offseason, but what about after?

It’s still worth it to keep. You can use old data to teach rookies about scouting or data analytics. Plus–if the current game shares a similar aspect to a previous game you can look at the old data to see what you collected etc.

I would recommend archiving it and prioritizing documenting your scouting process in a location that can be accessed by later years - that way future scouting leads won’t have to reinvent the wheel.

That said, you probably won’t use the data for a lot during the following season, but you can also use it for training purposes. And depending on the nerdiness of your team value placed on understanding the historical success and failure of past robots, you may want to keep it for posterity.

I think the answer to this entirely depends on what you would hope to accomplish by using it.

Teaching new students about scouting? Might be cool to have them scout last year’s game and compare their results to “good” data.

Looking back at how the draft went and how you or others might have missed that one really great sleeper bot? Looking at your data for missed trends in their performance could be handy.

That being said, I’ve never personally bothered to do the above, and wouldn’t really feel bad about never looking at it again after the event (or maybe season) it was relevant to. I also think there are other ways to examine your training or evaluation process that wouldn’t require hard data so much as an honest reflection.

I would say that keeping old scouting data is great for training new/future strategy students.

This year we plan on using both 2019 and 2018 data for training (because the games are so different).

Another thing you could do is check your data. Rescout the competitions to see how effective your scouting methods are. You might find some something interesting that can help you guys innovate and improve your scouting system.

Also, what do you plan on using your scouting data for at competitions moving forward? Are you wanting to use it for match strategy, picklist, or both? Knowing what you want to do with your data will help you create your system for what you need. You can use the data from last year as practice input for your new system.

-Austin