Last month MapMyFitness hosted the first ever Route Art contest and it was met with much enthusiasm. After one week we had hundreds of entries from people all over the world who were inspired by the idea of their city grid as a blank canvas ready for creation. Route Art is creative combination of artistic imagination coupled with athletic performance made possible by GPS technology. You may be asking, “How do they think this stuff up?” Well the answer comes from the creative genius of an 8th grade science teacher named, Michael Wallace or WallyGPX as most people know him.
During his summer break with time on his hands, Mr. Wallace hopped on his bike, grabbed a GPS device and set off to “virtually spray paint” his name across the streets of his Baltimore neighborhood. Halfway into the “W” of Wally it hit him, “If this works I can do anything!” Currently in his 5th Ride Season (which takes place every summer), WallyGPX has let his imagination ride wild and has created everything from the space invader to a map of the world. WallyGPX likes to refer to Route Art as “Virtual Geoglyphic Adventures” and encourages people to embrace their inner artistic athlete to create something special.
Need some help creating your work of route art? Follow these tips (for those on a bike) – straight from WallyGPX!
1. Use open spaces to curve your lines – look for them in satellite view, or better yet scout them to see what’s available. Parks & parking lots are ideal areas to get creative with your pathway.
2. In block style intersections, right angles can be made by intentionally exaggerating the pinch of the turn, conversely, rounded corners can be made by starting wide and angling the turn at a 45 degree angle to connect to the far side of the turn being made. Aim to cut across the sidewalk of the inside of the turn, and if possible, maintain a slow steady pace when making curves so you don’t pile up too many data points.
3. POSITIONING is more important than VELOCITY. Sure, get after it on the straight but be keen to your location at all times.
4. Your positioning confidence may come and go, but what remains is the adventure of it all and the digital spray paint that you’re leaving behind. Your GPS may not record a perfect mark of where you’ve been, but its the little bounces and anomalies that authenticate your creation and add to its uniqueness.
Lastly, have fun tricking yourselves into exercise and enjoy!