Enthusiasts around the world have caught on to GPS doodling and turning their running routes into masterpieces.
Have you always wanted to exercise but can’t rev up enough energy and enthusiasm to even make it to the starting point? Or are you tired of jogging along the same route around your neighbourhood each time?
Try GPS doodling, known as GPS Drawing or GPS Art. As you run, you draw your route with the help of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology.
Go on a running adventure and turn your feet into pencils, and the city into your sketchbook. Soon, you will be drawing giant art that wraps around buildings, parks and anywhere else your feet may take you.
Thanks to the satellites hovering in space above us, GPS has changed the way we exercise. Any device with a built-in GPS (such as a GPS tool tracker or your smartphone) can determine your GPS location and trace where you have been, how far you went and how quickly you took to get there. The route you take becomes a squiggly line that you could save on a digital map.
With careful planning and shrewd design, you can map cute illustrations of a smiley face, write your name, or trace the silhouette of the internet’s favourite animal, the cat! By the end of your workout, you’ll be rewarded with your very own map art that you may share on social media.
Enthusiasts around the world have caught on to GPS doodling and GPS artists are challenging themselves and each other to create more complex masterpieces as they walk, jog or cycle. GPS doodling is really easy to start and anyone can do it. It just takes a little planning and a keen imagination to “draw” with your steps.
What you need is a map to design your route and a GPS tracking device (usually your smartphone) to record your running trail.
Unless you intend to draw “freehand” or plan to stop often to check the “strokes” you have made on your device, it is easier to have your route mapped before you start.
Every path you take becomes a part of your drawing. GPS doodling is often completed in one “stroke”, with no gaps in between. This means you might need to retrace your route at certain places to avoid weird lines appearing on your drawing. Travelling a long distance and over a larger area lets you “draw” a more detailed picture too.
Using online route plotting apps makes planning a GPS doodle easy. With apps like these, you can plan a drawing of your route before you actually hit the road.
Deciding what to draw is a fun, challenging task. Unless you can find a large open space to walk or run, your drawing is likely to be constrained by road layouts. Finding a section of the city where the roads allow you to outline what you had in mind might take some time and imagination.
Sometimes you might need to rotate the map at different angles from its usual north-south orientation and alternate between zooming into the details and zooming out to see the “big picture”. Another method is to begin with a section of the map and see what pictures can be formed out of it.
Try mapping routes in different parts of town each time to get new ideas for your GPS art. You might also discover new sights and sounds along the way. Once the map is completed, upload the map to your smartphone app and let your app navigate you on your runs.
Why not draw a Pikachu while you’re out hunting for one? GPS doodling is fun and takes the chore out of a workout. Start with something small and gradually challenge yourself with bolder designs. With GPS doodling, you are no longer just exercising. Launch Google Maps now. There is a picture waiting for you to “walk it”!
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This article was last reviewed on
15 Sep 2023
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