Paddlers' Information

Devizes to Westminster GPS Tracking

Effective 2017. DW will be using GPS tracking technology for every crew in all classes in the race.

The process for fitting and return will be explained in full as part of the registration process and is designed to have a minimum impact on your race preparations.

For those that are new to the race, or haven't been involved in previous years that have used the GPS trackers, we've provided some details below.


Why have DW introduced trackers?

Crews will have the tracker fitted at Devizes and collected at Westminster. In between, it will record the location every 60 seconds, with location data published to a detailed map on a dedicated website. This allows support crews to know where their crew are through out the race, thus reducing missed support incidents, and at the same time enhances safety with more accurate data available to the Race Organisation. It also allows friends and relatives following the race at home to be more involved. DW has received very positive feedback from European, American and Australian crews about the tracker capabilities.

While there are safety benefits, these should not be seen as a substitute for personal responsibility when entering and supporting DW. Support crews are advised to have copies of the appropriate Ordnance Survey maps.

How big is the tracker?

It is a small rectangular device (60mm x 40mm x 25mm), about the size of a small matchbox, and weighs about 60gms.

How does it work?

The device uses GPS location and sends updates via a mobile signal which automatically post and plot to the map on the tracking page.

DW have teamed up with Open Tracking (OT - who run outdoor events as well as providing a tracking hire service. Since DW 2014 we have tested and used the tracking devices with a very high level of confidence. OT will provide the hardware and web-based tracking.

Do I have to carry the tracker?


This is covered in the rules under following the directions of officials. Failure to do so can result in time penalties or disqualification.

How good is the track?

The Trackers provide location data every 60 seconds, which has proven to give a battery life for the duration of the race, and can plot locations to within 200m on the course. Provided the tracker has mobile signal (it has a SIM card inside) the updates will be close to real time. If it does not have signal it will send the updates the next time it does!

How can I see the track?

Our race partners, Open Tracking, host a dedicated webpage which will show all the trackers on a map. Their system allows you to select a particular tracker and to zoom in to get a more accurate location.

The URL will be published and a link provided from the DW website.

How will the tracker be fitted?

The tracker will be in an immersion proof pouch supplied by Open Tracking. This will be attached to the rear shoulder strap of the buoyancy aid of one of the paddlers. Electrical tape will be used to secure the tracker and was successful last year.

Is this being used for timing?

No. The tracker is not a primary timing device. It is being used to provide additional "real time" location information.

How will I get the device?

Open Tracking will be at the start in Devizes on Saturday to issue the trackers. They will be assisted by a member of the DW team.

The tracker will be activated and sealed into the waterproof pouch and then attached to the paddler's buoyancy aid.

Once fitted the paddler doesn't have to do anything with it.

A DW team member will collect the tracker at Westminster.

If you retire during the race the tracker can be handed to any checkpoint or failing that returned to Open Tracking by post.

I still have some questions. Who should I contact?

For all enquiries, including requests to be considered as a volunteer for tracking, please contact DW by email.