Protocol for mapping sports field properties

A step-by-step, easy-to-follow protocol for collecting and analyzing surface properties of sports fields using commercially available devices and free software.
Technology No. 2020-238


Sports field management

  • Data-driven maintenance decision for natural and artificial turf fields
  • Surface property audits for irrigation, surface hardness, infill depth, etc.
  • Identification and proactive maintenance of hot spots to potentially reduce player injury
  • Informing administration, coaches, and players of the consequences of improper field usage

Key Benefits & Differentiators

  • Written and video instructions are downloadable and easy-to-follow
  • Practical, affordable, repeatable approach for mapping sports field properties
  • Sampling devices do not require GPS functionality
  • Useful for effective monitoring and proactive planning
  • Cut down on cost by using freely available software for analysis and visualization

Step-by-step protocol for sports field data mapping

Maintaining uniformity within a sports field is critically important as uneven surface properties such as soil moisture, surface hardness, turfgrass quality, etc. may directly lead to decreased field playability and increased injury occurrence. Periodic assessment of sports fields is especially important as several factors such as field construction, weather, sports type, and foot traffic can continuously alter the surface properties. While the technology required to collect and map such surface properties is already commercially available, its adoption has been rather poor. This is primarily due to lack of knowledge around how to collect and analyze the data effectively. In addition, costs associated with measurement devices and software can pose increased barriers. To help get over these hurdles, researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a detailed protocol to walk the users through the entire process. With this step-by-step protocol (written instructions & videos), users can easily

  • collect location-specific surface property data with commercial sampling devices (that do not require GPS functionality),
  • create, visualize, and analyze detailed data maps of entire sports fields using a free software (QGIS),

This self-teaching protocol package will enable sports field maintenance crews to better utilize existing technologies to make data-driven management decisions in a cost-effective and methodical manner.

Phase of Development

Protocol available for download.

Chase Straw, PhD
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University
External Link (
Nick Ashwill
Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota

Ready for Licensing

This technology is now available for license! The University is excited to partner with industry to see this innovation reach its potential. Please contact us to share your business’ needs and your licensing interests in this technology. Click the "License this Technology" button on the right panel to license and download the protocol. The University is currently offering this protocol for free. The license agreement helps us keep track of the users.

A protocol specific to golf course soil moisture mapping is also available.

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Protocol for Mapping Sports Field Properties License

Term: perpetual

Price per user:
$0.00 excl. TAX

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