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Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario

Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario


I was wondering if someone can help me.

I’m looking for a device… a system really that will allow two things.

2-way communication to a large group of people (50 or more but only one person speaking 99% of the time)
The ability to track the movements of each of those people in a small (40 acres or less) outdoor area.  The tracking needs to be close to real-time and displayed on a computer monitor that simulates the area.  Ideally each of the people would be able to be identified as well.

The purpose is for a paintball battle simulation.  Inside each of the two opposing command centers we want to give the “General” the ability to see where his troops are and to then communicate orders to them.  The more detail we can associate with each personal locator will aid in the communication to that person.

For example if we can only see that there is a person in a building, we would have to say “hey person in the building on the far right… look out!”.  Versus if that locator told us the person’s name or pre-associated group, we could say “Jackson, move Alpha team to the north, you need to provide cover for Delta in the woods”.

I know this is a lot to ask of a system, but if it exists outside the military and the land of million dollar price tags I would love to know about it.  I can’t seem to find such a system on my own, so I’m starting to ask around.

Not knowing much about a systems like this or the science behind it I was envisioning a colored elastic armband that encapsulated a small battery powered RF transmitter and a cheap Motorola personal 2-way radio.  Then some sort of triangulation used to detect the location of each transmitter… and with all of that, a computer system that would show these locations on a monitor (real-time).  Am I on the right track???

Thank you in advance for your help,
David Lanzi

RE: Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario

DGPS + APRS might be close to what you're looking for.

APRS: (but not on amateur radio frequencies of course)

DGPS: Differential GPS

Triangulation is another approach.

RE: Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario

Thank you,

Since I posted this, someone told me of another solution that incorporates RFID chips over a Wi-Fi network.  There is even software to track everyone's position.

Thank you for your help though.

RE: Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario

What is that stuff you're speaking of? The software that is?

Keith Cress
Flamin Systems, Inc.-

RE: Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario


This company provides real-time active transmitting Wi-Fi inventory tracking solutions using an 802.11 system and their own software package... i think.  still researching.

hope this helps.

RE: Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario

Near as I can tell, the update rate is only about noce every 20 seconds.


RE: Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario

There are also tracking solution IP available from several Zigbee module manufacturers. See the following link for a demo from one manufacturer.

I have seen live demos with no more than +/- 3 feet accuracy on a range of 5 to 50 feet. These use the signal strength measurement built into every 802.15.4/Zigbee chip. Since Zigbee is a meshing network where data can be forwarded, it's not necessary to have two units in range of each other as long as they are in range of another node of the network. A lot of location effort in Zigbee and UWB has come from the need to automatically inventory and track items in a large warehouse.

Of course, you don't get voice.

RE: Interesting Project - Real-Time Personal Locators - Paintball Scenario

Awesome,  Thanks.

I'm thinking of maybe using 100 of those (motorola) 2-way personal radios.  Just have to either instruct people not to push the ptt button or disable it altogether.  No way to have 100 people talking at the same time or trust them not to mess things up by accidentally pushing the button.

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