Some interesting GPS artwork has been floating around social media lately. I’m always amazed at other people’s creativity. Probably because most of mine seems to have been used up before I left elementary school. But, nonetheless, I challenged myself to create some original artwork with my own two feet and I’ll share my method with you. It’s easier than you think.

How to Turn Your Run into GPS Art
Artwork by Stephen Lund

Step One – Plan Your Route

Using Google Pedometer is an easy way to map out a route. You can also create a free account and save your mapped routes for download, export to GPS device, or sharing. I usually punch in my zip code zoom in a little bit and start looking for patterns that inspire me. Flipping between road maps and satellite views will reveal different patterns and may trigger new ideas.

How to Turn Your Run into GPS Art

I discovered this dinosaur living on the New Hampshire seacoast after several minutes of despair. The images reveal themselves if you let your mind wander. The harder I worked at coming up with something brilliant, the more frustrated I became. Your patience will be rewarded.

How to Turn Your Run into GPS Art

Step Two – Run Your Route

If you happen to have a GPS device that allows you to upload maps and plot your course in real time, then you’re already way ahead of me. I have to write down turn-by-turn directions and find my way like a relic of the past. The most difficult part of “drawing” your artwork is not the running, it’s the navigation. Missing road signs, construction projects, and roads with more than one name will turn your dinosaur into spaghetti.

This world is but a canvas to our imagination. – Henry David Thoreau

Advanced GPS artists will soon find out that a hard right turn is different than a gentle radius, doubling back on yourself means running on the same side of the road if you want only one line, and cutting through someone’s lawn is the cost of creating a masterpiece.

Step Three – Share Your GPS Art

Strava Art

After you’ve finished, share your creation! Your Strava, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook friends will marvel at your healthy artwork. Some of them may be inspired to go out and create their own.

Thoughts?