What Data does your Team Collect While Scouting, and How?

Some First alums and I at Purdue are in the process of developing a scouting web app with the hope of it being extendable to as many use cases as possible. In order to ensure this happens, we’d love to hear how your team does the following:

  1. What data does your team collect?
  2. How do you collect and organize your data?
  3. How do you visualize your data, if at all?
  4. How many people do you have scouting each match?
  5. Can you or do you bring school owned devices to competition? If so, what are they?

We’d also love to hear your own thoughts on what you’d like a digital scouting system to be able to provide!

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I’d like a scouting system that provides positive encouragement. You know, something to get my scouts through those trying times…


Get a giant box of 25lb of candy for under $100. This is great encouragement. Loose M&Ms are fun.

The one thing I would say is it would be nice if somehow this could work offline since there is usually not WiFi at competitions. Like perhaps instead of a web app, a native iOS/Android app that could send the data through bluetooth/AirDrop is better.

Our team is currently developing a visual scouting app that will export the data into an excel spreadsheet that would be airdropped to a laptop and then copied over to a master spreadsheet. Here is our prototype of the UI (this is for last year’s game, and the prototype is obviously not complete): https://gnsrobotics.com/eric/m.png

Sounds almost as pleasant as high-fiving all the sweaty hands at the end of the day


Or you can get packaged candy.

Luckily we’ve already taken this into account. We’ve currently tested using a network switch to create a LAN and were also looking into how we can send info or access the webserver via Bluetooth to allow phones to connect.

In past years we’ve been using a paper --> manual input to excel method. I’ve been trying to move us to an all-digital system but there’s always been higher priorities.

  1. In no particular order
    1a. Number of game pieces/objectives scored in each major catagory (so last year it was rocket cargo (by level), rocket hatches (by level), ship cargo, ship hatches, starting level, sandstorm line, ending level)
    1b. Fouls performed
    1c. Auto performance (sandstorm counts)
    1d. I personally would love to have time-based data on when things were scored/picked up, but we deemed it not feasible with a paper based scouting system. It’s also likely that it wouldn’t be particularly helpful above what data we already collect. A nice-to-have.
  2. Scouts physically writing on physical paper during each match, after every 3 matches the completed page is given to our data collation person (who is typically inputting continuously throughout the competition, averaging a little more than 6 robots of data in the start-to-start time of a match). Data collation is done in a big excel sheet with tabs for each team and a summary page comparing.
  3. No visualizations. I stare at the excel sheet and visualize the numbers in my head, like Neo in the Matrix.
  4. 3-6 depending on how many students I can get to sit down and focus at a time, plus the 1 collator. Typically the higher end but there are matches with incomplete data sets due to not enough eyes.
  5. I believe that each student was given a android tablet in previous years, but the current freshman were given something in the apple ecosystem for some reason.

I personally would love to move my team to a digital app system. Personally my ideal platform would be one with heavy customization which had a bunch of different button “slots” and each year we as a team could decide what information we wanted to collect and where it would go on the screen, but the app would take care of the storage and transmission of the data to a base-station where I could import it for analytics. Added bonus is if the base-station could be given a match schedule and each child device could be assigned a driver station (red 1, blue 3, etc) and the scouting devices would be able to automatically display what robot number they were scouting that match (and what match number it currently is), way too many simple mistakes from miscommunication on which match it is or which robot they are supposed to be scouting. I also would need it to be completely offline if at all possible, certainly not using wi-fi. Ideally via blue-tooth or some wireless communication that is legal at competition (wifi is explicitly disallowed at all competitions I know of and will get you in trouble if you have it on), but I’d accept having to physically plug the scout device into the base-station and hitting an “import” button or copy-pasting a file. (a physical foolproof option as a backup wouldn’t be a bad idea). I would also love an “alliance selection mode” where you could have a couple graphs/lists for performance in different areas, but when you tap on a team they are greyed-out across all lists so the scouts know who’s left.

Nessie’s request of encouragement is actually something I could get behind. A simple and cheesy pop-up “GOOD JOB” or “GREAT WORK” after they finish a match.

  • We collect data on scoring actions/RP actions.
    Edited Addition: The Drive team scouts the pits on Thursdays - this helps them plan their strategy for the matches on Friday
  • Data is placed in Excel by team/match, then analyzed by match.
  • Previous years - no; this year - Tableau
  • 7 per match; 1 per robot, 1 leader/data entry (paper scouting)
  • 1 laptop that is team owned.

Thanks for your thoughtful feedback! I really appreciate it. The two main design principals we have in mind is zero reliance on WiFi and being modular so teams can customize it to fit there needs. I mentioned how we are planning on tackling the network issue above but as for modularization, we’re still working on figuring out the simplest way to handle it. With the system we have in mind, the database model (how the data is stored), the input form, and possibly built in grapahs on the server would have that feature. The hope is there is little to no need of coding knowledge but we haven’t thought of a easy way to avoid the HTML for the forum yet (granted we just finished finals so we haven’t thought about it that hard). We also never took the miscommunication portion into account. I’m now thinking it would be best to only allow the clients to submit a form if the device gets the OK from the head device, which also send match number and who is scouting what.

  1. Generally speaking, we have two categories: stand and pit.
More specifically speaking...

Quantitative data - this year had total HP scored, total cargo scored, attempted climb level, end climb level, and robots that were defended.

Qualitative data - starting SS level, drivebase, hatch locations, cargo locations, hatch intake, cargo intake, other notes.

  1. We use whiteboard markers + paper in sheet protectors, which is then inputted into an excel sheet.
  2. Charts in the excel sheet in the past - this year I’m looking into using Tableau.
  3. 6, plus one data input person. 5 or 7 if I’m not doing my job properly.
  4. We have Windows 10 Yoga 260s - that said, the district blocks essentially all non-approved .exes, so past attempts have tried to circumvent the firewall had to become more creative than usual.
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We tried Appsheet last year, and their system basically just takes from whatever google sheet you input and creates the forms based on the headers within it. That may be an option to take for modularity and preventing HTML coding on the user side (just have some choices on the type of data for each selection maybe?)

  1. We collect points scored and how, like autonomous, and other similar things.
  2. We use an app that is on a bunch of cheap tablets.
  3. It all goes to a laptop for the technician and he can view it in different ways in a spreadsheet.
  4. At least 6, one for each robot. We usually try to rotate though and normally have the schedule for scouting before each tournament.
  5. We do not bring school owned devices but we bring robotics owned tablets, some sort of android.

Interesting. Is it possible to take the forum and save it as an HTML file or does it have to be used with the app?

How interesting, I’ve actually developed a scouting web app for our team during the off-season as well. Works fully offline and runs off the browser, each person just has to download a .zip file with some HTML/CSS/JS files in it. We don’t know how well it works on phones yet, but I’ve tested it off Chromebooks provided to every student of our school and it works flawlessly.

Each scout writes out a bunch of scouting forms and when they’re ready to hand them off to our “master scouter” (the person who in charge of vetting all the data for accuracy and generally overseeing the entire process), they can export all their forms into a .JSON file. I’m still figuring out how exactly this file transfer process will take place… as far as I’ve gotten right now is using a flash drive or something. Master scouter can import as many .JSON files as they want, and they can look at every form for every team side-by-side, and the program will generate a power rating for each team based on the data (albeit using a really shoddy, highly untested formula) and simulate matches as well (again really untested).

One of the priorities of our team is that all the data is available in one place that everyone can get at (particularly drive team so we can assess weaknesses before matches), which has usually been a Google spreadsheet that we access through the inkling of internet sparsely available at competitions. As it stands right now, the master scouter will have to manually input their data into a Google spreadsheet, which isn’t very optimal but I haven’t had time recently to give it any more thought.

Not sure, never had to put it into an HTML file. This Excel helppage though looks promising.

That’s pretty similar to how I was thinking about doing it last year while in high-school but just never had the time. Now one of the people I’m working with had the great idea of using the network switch which allows the data to be sent from the clients to a database on the server computer. If your interested in using a similar system, I’ll link you the Wiki with how to set something similar up once he writes it.

It would be cool if your app could aggregate data from a bunch of different teams’ scouts. I’d imagine that the people who’d want to utilize your application wouldn’t have the resources to build up their own scouting platform, and they might not be able to have the manpower to record the actions of every team in every match. If a number of teams could have a way to collaborate on scouting, that would be incredible. It might also solve the problem of disinterest; if enough people participate, that means fewer matches watched for each person.

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We’ve talked about that as well and that’s one of our long term goals, but it most likely won’t happen by the time competitions start.

I’ve being using a website and app, epicollect 5, which to me was able to do a lot of the functionality people are asking for here.

It has really easy and intuitive survey design ability, and it has the option for offline entry for later upload. Also, using some apis, I was able to do some automatic tabulation from there, which was relatively easy to set up.
Here’s an example of what I collected, https://five.epicollect.net/project/koalafied-2019-qualifiers/data
Here’s an example in a csv format which is automatically generated, you just have to use the appropriate web address. From here you can easily tabulate it using programs, you can even do it using excel pretty easily.