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How do you accurately describe a race track without using an image?

enter image description here

Let's say you have this image, but you can't use it as a reference. How do you manage to exactly describe it in a way someone could exactly reproduce roughly the same shape without having the exact lengths for each section?

I am not asking if I should describe it accurately, but I don't really see how you can describe the race track shape accurately by just using words. You could say it looks like an aligator, but it's not an accurate description of the track at all.

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    Can we uses the dashes in the image as distances markers? How accurate does the description need to be? Does "An alligator with a huge underbite, a very small body, no legs, and it's tail curving up" suffice? Can't we just describe it as Algarve International Circuit? More importantly, what is the point? What are we trying to achieve by describing it?
    – user54131
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 5:42
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    You have this tagged as technical-writing meaning this will be going into some kind of technical document correct? What is the purpose/context of the document? The answers are very different depending on the audience for the document. The difference between the race operations team and the event promoter for example is very different.
    – linksassin
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 7:35
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    Who is your audience? For example, for a racing driver, something like the following will give them a full mental picture of the entire track: "MC1 100 KL2 100 KR2 200 SQL 100 KR4 50J!→R2+ (D/C!) 100 +SQR 400 F→CR→KL4 100 MC2BC". (Note: this is just an example, it does not correspond to the track above.) Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 14:33
  • It would be intended for engineers or drivers.
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 0:58
  • Wikipedia has lots of textual descriptions of race tracks, as do many raceday programs/brochures, books on motorsports, etc. If you're writing for a motor-sport audience look at existing descriptions in this kind of source; if you're writing for a more technical audience look at other descriptions written for that audience.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 17, 2022 at 16:03

2 Answers 2

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I can "describe" this race track precisely by imposing an X Y grid on top of it with enough resolution to capture each of your little dashes. Then report the coordinates and colors of each occupied point in the grid.

Effectively, that is what you have done with your "image", the computer screen is just a square XY grid of pixels,which can each be some color. That is how television and computer videos are made, they are not continuous but rapidly displayed still frames that create the illusion of movement.

The race track can be compressed to ignore the squares on the grid that contain no element of race track, and the squares of the grid can be relatively large, compared to pixels. Say, 1/4 of the width of the track.

An alternative would be to recite exact measurements, length, width, and angles and curvatures, but there would be many of those required as well to produce a copy a jury agrees is the same image as the original.

Otherwise, if your "description" prohibits reciting a long accurate accounting of the image, then of course it is unlikely it will be accurately reproduced.

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Maybe identify the specific corners that are critical to the race, and describe them, and just give a tally of the others?

So this course is a long sweeping bend, a long straight, two hairpin corners followed by some gentler curves, and a final hairpin corner.

Use more direction (left/right/north/east/south/west) or detailed racetrack jargon as required.

(More detailed description of how many champions have crashed at the 2nd hairpin, or how the race is really won or lost on the big straight, or a detailed description of the actual shape of a corner that you care about follow).

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  • How would you describe the race track using these words?
    – Sayaman
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 0:59

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