Cyclists and Runners Trace Images on Maps by “GPS Drawing”

GPS_tracking.jpgA GPS drawing of a character from the Atari 2600 “Pitfall!” game. Image: NY Times

When we profiled bicycle related mobile phone applications last month, we clearly thinking creatively enough. The New York Times had a very interesting article yesterday on "GPS Drawing," which entails using your GPS-enabled phone to trace your running or cycling route on a map in shapes and patterns, such as faces, animals, or computer game figures.  

Once the figure is traced, users upload them to sites like and (check out the Dog Drawings video). Jeremy Wood, an artist from London who maintains, uses his GPS phone to trace his every movement while outside, which he has been doing since 2004:

‘People have been doing this for centuries, making big drawings so they could be seen by the gods,’ he said, citing the ancient Nasca geoglyphsin Peru as an example.

I suppose any excuse to get people to explore and appreciate their urban environment is a good thing. Have any readers been GPS Drawing themselves or know of people using these apps for interesting art projects, flash mobs, protests, or other reasons?


SF Transportation Authority Launches iPhone App to Track Cyclists

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (TA), the city’s congestion management agency responsible for modeling transportation and development patterns, has released its new bicycle route data application, Cycle Tracks, for iPhones and GPS-enabled iTunes players at the iTunes store. Like similar applications that give information such as speed and distance traveled, users of the TA […]
A "Jump" Electric Dockless Share Bike. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

SFMTA Requires Permit for Dockless Bike Share

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has published a permit application for so-called “dockless” bike-share companies. These are companies that offer rental bikes based on smart-phone and GPS technology–unlike the official, Bay Area Bike Share/Ford GoBike system, they don’t require fixed docking locations where users have to pick them up and drop them off. […]

SPUR Talk: High-Speed Rail on its Way to Northern California

High-Speed Rail construction is well underway in the Central Valley, said Ben Tripousis, Northern California Regional Director for the California High Speed Rail Authority, during a forum at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s (SPUR) Mission Street center. “The High-Speed Rail question has shifted from ‘if’ to ‘when,'” he told the packed house at today’s […]
A pedestrian was struck at Phelan Loop/Ocean yesterday evening. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Pedestrian Hit at Ocean/Phelan Loop

Yesterday evening around six I was waiting on the Ocean and Lee K-Ingleside inbound Muni platform, looking east, when I saw a man dash across Ocean from the direction of the Phelan loop. He was struck by an SUV, propelled some five feet into the air, and landed on the streetcar tracks about a car's length from the point of impact.
Can more precise GPS make streets safer? Image: Swift Navigation

SPUR Talk: Location Data and the Future of the City

Yesterday afternoon, at a presentation at the SF Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s (SPUR) downtown San Francisco center, Rob Hranac of Swift Navigation and Andreas Viglakis of Mapbox discussed how developments in mapping and location technology will enhance safety, bring about truly autonomous cars, and improve our understanding of demographics and the urban environment. Autonomous […]