With the competition roaring, drivers by the field and scouters in the stand both carefully track robot movements in the field. Scouting is all about collecting data on each team's robot at competition. You may have heard scouting is important in FTC, but really, why?

1. Why do we scout?

We scout teams at each competition we go to, starting all the way back at League Meet 1 for a multitude of reasons. One of the most immediate reasons at qualifying competitions, is alliance selections. If we are an alliance captain, we have all the information we need in house to make the best decision on alliance partner that will complement us well. Additionally, if we are selected, we can help our partner with the final pick. The most rewarding result from scouting is getting to see whether our changes between competition are actually helping, or are just a show. Our data allows us to calculate the exact percentage improved, as well as identify what areas of the game we need to improve consistency or reliability in. For example, we might know that our team marker deployment and sampling both work some of the time, but we only have time to work on one of them before the next competition. Looking at our data, we know that deployment worked in 80% of our match, but sampling only 40%. Now we know that making our sampling more consistent will gain us more point than if we worked on our deployment.

Forrest and Kiyan using our scouting system during practice matches.
2. How do we scout?

We created our own scouting program through Google Sheets and Google Forms where we track statistics for each team at every competition. For each match, one team member claims each robot, and records information on every task in the game; how many times an element was scored (if applicable), whether a task was attempted, and whether a task was completed successfully. All this is submitted through a google form, which feeds into a google sheet. There, statistics on average scoring, consistency, and more, are automatically calculated.

Data from our 2nd League Meet. You can get a template of our form here.

3. How do we get people to scout?

Oftentimes, people can be a little reluctant to spend their day as a tedious data collector. When trying to get other team members help you scout, it is important to make sure that everyone knows how this data will be used to improve your team, and impact everyone. Additionally, to avoid confusion on who’s supposed to be scouting which robot when, we make a schedule for the day. The four active scouters are assigned specifically to R1, R2, B1, and B2, as well as a backup in case anyone needs a snack/bathroom break. Throughout the day, everyone on the team (except the drivers) are rotated through each position to give equal time.

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