Is It Possible to Track People Moving Along Ski-Mountain Trails?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsIs It Possible to Track People Moving Along Ski-Mountain Trails?
RFID Journal Staff asked 10 years ago
I was wondering the approximate distance from which an RFID tag in a ski pass or lift ticket could be read. Can individuals be tracked while moving through trails—and if it is possible, is the price realistic?

—Name withheld

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A passive high-frequency (HF) transponder used in ski passes or lift tickets has a read range of up to three feet. A passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) transponder has a read range of up to 15 or 20 feet. It is impossible to track skiers as they traverse the various ski trails with the technology used in these passes.

It would be feasible to track skiers using an active RFID transponder, but this battery-powered device would not be disposable and would cost $20 or more per unit. Plus, you would need to install readers every 1000 feet or so across every trail, complete with power and a network connection. I don’t know what your definition of “realistic” is, but my guess is this is not an economically viable use of RFID.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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