GPS drawing

This week in the lecture we discussed the topic of GPS and remote sensing from history to contemporary practices. The notion of “seeing without being seen or touching” brought up the underlying issue of surveillance somehow. With the modern global mapping services, such as Google Maps, people can see images of any place without going anywhere. Problems such as individual being tracked and loss of privacy occur, because authorities or hackers may use the system to control over people and do things you never expect.

Despite the downside, GPS gives artists great space to explore and experiment. From the Wilson reading, I found one piece by the artist Andrea Di Castro very interesting. He organized a project called “Drawing with Global Technologies” over the world. Basically, artists are using GPS to draw lines and shapes by tracing their movements. The idea of drawing with one’s own movement and plotting the path on the natural canvas by using GPS technology is very creative and can be largely extended. Here are some maps made by Andrea Di Castro:

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I found a Japanese artist Yassan Takahash who is continuously working on his giant GPS drawing project. ( The first step of each project he is making is planning the routes on the map. Then he goes around the real site (by means of walking, bicycle, car, ferry and even train) following the map and with the GPS logger turned on to draw the liens. Along his way, datas such as atmosphere, culture, people and condition of the road are recorded as well. The last step for his project is to import all the data to a mapping software Google Earth, as well as keep his documentation on his blog. Some of his work takes one day and some takes up to years. Here are some images of his finished work:

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This is a project in progress:

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Nowadays, we can access the GPS easily by just using the mobile phone. This portable device is able to track your everyday routine. Everyone can be an artist by drawing with some of the GPS apps on mobile device, for example “Nike+running”, “Run with Map”, “Map My Rides”, etc. People can have fun drawing graphics and share with friends while walking or running.

I love this aspect of GPS technology as in the art. This is very interesting and even make life more entertaining. There seems to be more to explore with GPS and I can foresee augmented reality that based on GPS being applied to the world in the near future.

–Siyi Ye


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