Sunday, March 18, 2012

Make Art with Your Phone’s GPS

gpsasketch logo

Smartphone GPS really isn’t all that great at anything. In a pinch, it can get you from Point A to Point B but I wouldn’t recommend relying on it for anything major. You never know when your phone is suddenly going to lose signal, battery or both. However, there is one cool thing that you can do with your phone’s GPS, and that’s GPS art.

We’ve talked about various ways that people have used GPS trails to create art although generally it involves an actual GPS device, not a phone. Regardless, from marriage proposals to enthusiastic job applications, people have been using GPS tracks to create art for a long time. There’s even an entire website dedicated to it. It’s definitely not a new topic. In fact, there is even an artist who mapped out commonly traveled roads of cities and sells the resulting images (which are surprisingly beautiful) as art posters. But, what about your own travels?

screen568x568The new app GPS-A-Sketch uses your phone’s GPS signal to sketch out your travels much like those bright red etch-a-sketches that we all had when we were kids. The app is insanely simple. All you have to do is activate the location services on your smartphone and then go and the app will run in the background. Use your regular dedicated GPS app to navigate and let this app create fun Etch-A-Sketch-style art showing your travels! Lines should automatically be logged once you’ve moved around 100 feet away from the last registered point so it really is passive.

The app itself is actually pretty new on the App Store and isn’t yet available for Android devices, unfortunately, although all iPhones running iOS 7 or later should be compatible. You can download it for free here. While the lines aren’t super accurate, personally I think it’s kind of a neat idea and would be fun for a weekend you ran errands or did something similar. If you try it out, be sure to leave me a note in the comments and let me know what you thought!

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