Release Zebra data after competition

Hi, I am probably very late to this topic. But I was going through some matches from the midwest 2020 regional, and I noticed that many of the top teams at that regional opted not to put the Zebra tags onto their robot. I am assuming that this was done because Zebra tags just give up a lot of information on your robot. From a competitive standpoint, it’s simply always the wrong choice to put Zebra on your robot, especially if you film your own matches, as I know my team did for several years.

However, there is still a lot that can be learned from this data, and I know I missed a lot of teams who I would like to see the Zebra data on. I think to combat this, the Zebra data should be collected, but only released after the competition is done. This way, you don’t undermine the work of teams who try to be competitive, or who try to have complex scouting systems, but also allow this data to be seen and to be analyzed, without needing to worry about if a team will choose to put the tag or not.


I think this would only hurt teams that can incorporate the Zebra data into their scouting, which I assume many of the top teams are capable of. A better solution would be to make Zebra tracking universal and mandatory IMO.


Frankly… I’m not sure I agree. All the Zebra data is collecting is a semi-accurate location on field. It’s not perfect, and quite frankly… doesn’t give a “lot”. We didn’t even have it for a full season, we had it for some events at part of a single one. Basic scouting will give more useful information than Zebra, and getting component OPR of scoring locations will give you similar automatic derived insights into a team’s capability.

I hope more teams opt to use the tag moving forward, if the following isn’t true:

Bingo. Anything that increases the availability of data for both better viewing experiences at home and at event (strategy desks please?) , as well as the data available to scouting teams of all sizes, rather than just the super large ones, is a good move.


Name removed just in case theyre not a fan of it being posted here.

playing quals matches hurts you in the same way and yet teams do it


Could a team share how they utilized the data during an event this season?

I obviously can see how it can be helpful (automating climb times, human player loading times, maybe percentage of time playing defense), but it’s hard to devote time to integrating a system that likely won’t be available at your regional. Not sure how feasible it is, but I agree with making it universal and mandatory.


While I agree in principle, this would represent another fairly large and complex system that FIRST would have to buy, maintain, and support through deployment to regionals. As I understand it, Zebra is currently providing systems to certain events either free or at a steep discount. If FIRST made it mandatory, they’d be required to purchase as many systems as there are fields, possibly at full price. While I don’t have details on the Dart tags and interrogators, I suspect they’re not cheap.


So if basic scouting gives more, and there are still things to learn from zebra (heat maps for one), then I think it would make sense to just release the data at the end. It would mean every team would have no real downside to using the tags. You can get the better data than zebra gives by watching matches, sure. All the info is there. The problem is, a lot of teams see it as just giving up data to other teams. Scouting alliances are a thing because they help both teams, but this would only harm a team which collects this data. So why not just release it after competition? It would give less data then, but it would guarantee you get more data to look at in the future, especially given that the optimal choice is always to give up only what information you have to. Don’t tell a team you’re gonna pick em before you know, even if they’re top of your list. Same concept.

What use is future data if i need the data now?

Nah, the same teams will just say “it may hurt me in future competitions” and refuse to use it.


Yeah, it is. This is a good thing. 1257 has released our data at events during events for years. We’ve been thanked not just for alleviating the burden of teams with small scouting teams, but also for letting teams have insights into how others work, and how they’re seen on-field.

A rising tide lifts all boats, so giving all teams more data gives them more opportunity to think critically and improve.


Yes, you give data to teams. My team has done this many many times, and other teams have done the same to us. However, when teams work hard to organize their data and strategy, it can be seen as a disadvantage to give up information from zebra for free. Frankly, I’d prefer to see Zebra data from all teams, before or after. There is information to be gained from it. Less teams will say no to zebra if they do not feel it is hurting their chances at competition. Maybe not all, but certainly more than before.

And to answer MikLast as well, the future data helps for analyzing the game. I remember in 2019 we were so thankful one of the Florida regionals gave us an overhead view to watch matches on, even for just part of it. It was really helpful in getting a perspective on the game and how it is played. Zebra data will basically never not be useful. so why not get more of it?

For what it’s worth, the top teams that we competed with Week 1 had zebra on their bots the whole of the event, and they still swept the event as expected


Hello! I am back to visit my favorite website, ChiefDelphi!

Besides what @krf has said already about giving up data, Zebra is not organizing data and forming strategy for you. It is just data points. It will be up to the team to make strategy and analyze, just like literally any data sharing scenario.


That does not change the fact that some teams see it as a competitive disadvantage. The data points are very useful, and though not as useful after the fact, still have plenty of uses. And the heat maps have far less value when you take the top teams off of it.

Maybe i need to make it less small

TBA has both match data and ZEBRA data free to use for anyone with relative ease. ZEBRA just isint as mandatory like playing your quals matches is.

You missed my point. Theres literally 0 reason to withhold the data until post event, we’re just making them up to justify a questionable practice.

1 Like

I read your post, there is no need to be snappy, it doesn’t help your point. I think you miss mine, in that some teams just aren’t going to give up data if there is a competitive disadvantage. This is still a competition after all. Can you imagine trying to analyze the game and not having teams like 254 in your data set? This is not to make on comment on whether or not they’d use it, but a data set without the top teams isn’t really going to do much, be it at competition or after.

I’ve read your argument. I’d still vastly prefer requiring teams to use the Zebra trackers if the event has them.

That ignores teams who have no spot to put the zebra

I’ve never seen one, how big are they?

So let’s make this a simple solution:

All teams at an event that has Zebra trackers must carry them. No weight or size penalty will be assessed (that is, they won’t count against size or weight). Events with Zebra trackers will be announced so that teams that don’t want to use trackers can avoid them, and teams at those events know to make sure there’s a spot for them.

Additionally: If a team at such an event competes in a match without having their trackers on the robot at the start of the match, their alliance is assessed a Technical Foul on the spot. (In years that the TF is overpowered for the scoring, 2 Fouls could be used instead.) Repeated offenses may be carded.


I haven’t either, I just know that I heard from more than one team there wasn’t room.