Determination of football pitch locations from video footage and official pitch markings

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Publication details

Alcock, A, Hunter, A & Brown, N, 2009, 'Determination of football pitch locations from video footage and official pitch markings', Sports Biomechanics, vol, 8, no. 2, pp. 129-140.

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The ability to determine a specific location on a football (soccer) pitch from television footage would provide a cost-effective method of obtaining competition-specific information on many professional and international teams. This study presents the accuracy and reliability of a new method of calculating ball location from simulated television coverage and known pitch markings. The coordinates of 99 markers of known location on a football pitch were digitized from video. An intersection point was determined from the equations of two lines that form pitch markings and the relationship from this point to other known pitch coordinates was calculated using a curve-fitting based method. Average error between known and reconstructed measures was 0.21 m for pitch width and 0.11 m for pitch length from a view simulating television coverage. Inter- and intra-rater reliability analyses showed researchers could consistently reconstruct pitch locations to within less than half a metre. The accuracy and reliability of this method will be sufficient for most practical uses in an applied sport environment, although the level of accuracy required will depend on the specific application. This method could be applied to other sports to determine specific locations on a pitch or court or to improve current competition analysis systems.

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