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GPS receivers determine one's position on the surface of the Earth by trilateration of microwave signals from satellites orbiting at an altitude of 20,200 km. Tracks of a journey can automatically be recorded into the GPS receiver's memory and can subsequently be downloaded onto a computer as a basis for drawing, sculpture or animation. This journey may be on the surface (e.g. walking) or taken in 3D (e.g. while flying).
The idea was first implemented by artists Hugh Pryor and Jeremy Wood, whose work includes a 13-mile wide fish in Oxfordshire, spiders with legs 21 miles long in Port Meadow, Oxford, and "the world's biggest 'IF'": a pair of letters, "I", which goes from Iffley in Oxford to Southampton and back, and "F" which traverses through the Ifield Road in London down to Iford, East Sussex, through Iford and back up through Ifold in West Sussex. The total length is 537 km, and the height of the drawing in typographic units is 319,334,400 points. Typical computer fonts at standard resolutions are between 8 and 12 points.
In early 2014 programmer Joe Rosen released a GPS-A-Sketch GPS sketching app for iOS, through the iTunes App Store.
- Drawcraft - android application for drawing on the world’s map
- GPS Visualizer - utility for making maps from raw data
- GPS-A-Sketch.com - GPS sketching app for iOS
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