Tech Revolutionizes the Great Outdoors

Dennis Faas's picture

Once upon a time, all those who designed and manufactured sporting equipment gathered around to share a common complaint: the technological movement was becoming a direct threat to their industry!

The rationale made sense. These companies, who were once selling high volumes of equipment and merchandise, were now set to lose big business because their consumers would rather stay inside and surf the web.

That was 1999.

Today, the same companies who once regarded the age of technology as a sign of the physical education apocalypse are now doubling and tripling their annual income with the help of social networking tools, mapping programs, and wireless gadgets that come in all shapes and sizes. (Source:

The recent drive to implement technology into the world of sports can be credited to the falling prices of hi-tech devices like global positioning systems (GPS). The companies who continue to manufacture and sell sporting goods are now targeting the average "weekend warrior" (those who play sports for recreational purposes and do not want to spend huge sums of money on their equipment).

Many believe that a consumer on a budget would be more inclined to purchase a golf club with an attached GPS system over a sleeker-looking golf club with no attached GPS. While not as pleasing to the eye, a GPS system attached to a golf club can easily locate a lost ball or tell the exact distance a ball may have traveled. (Source:

While technology is prevalent in all areas of sports, new research is currently underway to implement technology in:

  • Running: A small start-up company, Location Nation, is in the midst of launching a new service that allows local runners to view Google map data captured on small GPS devices. The data, such as distance traveled, is then uploaded onto the corporate web site, where users can meet with others who have similar interests. This can be comparable to the layout found on a standard social networking site. The service is completely free, but the company is set to receive future revenue options by allowing ads to appear on their site targeting such outdoor activities as hiking, rafting and mountain climbing. (Source:
  • Biking: A well-known GPS maker, Garmin, is set to unveil a new series of bicycle computers that display detailed directions while recording heart rate, time traveled, and other cyclist data. The information can also be shared with other users in a social-networking atmosphere.
  • Hunting: Active Hunting Solutions sells digital cameras with motion detectors and cell phone technology so hunters can remotely track deer, bear and other big game. Hunters place the cameras at a spot where they expect game to pass. Once they detect motion, the cameras snap a photo that is transferred to the corporate web site. Hunters then know immediately if there is indeed game at that location, saving time spent traveling to the wrong spot. (Source:

Analysts believe that GPS will have an evolving role in the world of outdoor sports.  It might just be cool enough to get us techies off our duffs and into the fresh fall air.

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