Webster Guy, on 03 December 2013 - 12:27 AM, said:
Just remember this is a league that still uses CHAINS bolted around STICKS to measure ten yards out on the field. They actually have guys run out there and measure. A laser system shot from the sidelines is easier, more accurate and instantaneous. But the NFL still uses chains.
They wont always use chains, I guarantee it.
IMO, they will never get rid of the rod/stick & chain... They already got it down to the minimum number of guys on the chain crew and the accuracy MAY not be that much better.
I worked as a hydrographic surveyor on a survey crew. I used to sound (take depth readings) all the harbors (and rivers associated w/them) from Toledo, OH in the west to Ogdensburg, NY in east. We'd take the soundings to determine how much material would or would not have to be dredged (Harbors & Rivers Act). I did this during the era that led into GPS technology. Pre-GPS, we would have to establish elevation guages in the water and then build baseline all along a shore and then we would sound the water @ stations off that baseline... All by hand, in a rowboat w/a small outboard motor... We would get to 100th of an inch onshore for the baseline with rods and chains and then come off those stations with a boat and tagline. A tagline was a big spool of cable on the boat that had cloth markers every 5 feet. As the boat came off the baseline @ the designated angle (usually 90 degrees set by guy w/sextant or two range poles when there was no shore guy), the tagline would pay out... Another guy would then take a hand sounding with a lead line (think window sash chain with various types of weights depending on botton type) @ various tagline cloth marks. The sounder would call the depth reading out while the crew chief recorded the sounding and @ what point... w/paper and pencil that data would be recorded into the survey book. Data would be then be corrected/adjusted to the elevation of the water. All sounding data would then be plotted onto a chart @ the office. Sometimes big harbors like BFLO, the survey boat would not have enough tagline... +1,000's of feet on the spool. More boats would be needed to cross and get the measurements way out. It would take 3 crews of 5 or 6 guys to work a place like BFLO Harbor, year in and year out, maintaining it...
Now... One or two guys in a survey launch can sweep the harbor in half a day with GPS!
Anyway... Back in the day we would build that baseline to 100th of an inch yet when we would get out onto the water we could be within 10 feet to take the sounding! :-O
What is the accuracy of the GPS? Under 30 feet? :-O
Close enough? Both? Building a missile base to launch bottle rockets?
Anyway... Sorry for the long winded story, but IMO football is better served with the slightly more people needed to operate the chains and sticks/rods as a crew. The observer (fan) can actually see the integrity of the chain. Go to lasers and what not, who's not second guessing that the parameters set in the machine aren't being doctored or cheated with? Do you trust the tech and the NFL? I want to see a chain! Just as good and just as accurate.
Mechanical chains are trustworthy... Save the GPS and lasers for BFLO Harbor where they can eliminate 100 year 'round good paying jobs (from rod & chainmen to plotters and drafters) for 2 guys doing it all!