GPS drawings to interpret the urban environment

Drawing with Satellites is a "GPS project" carried out at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture by Chris Speed, Esther Polak, Ross Cruickshanks, Karlyn Sutherland and second year Architecture students. The project led to this intriguing PDF booklet.

The brief engaged participants in exploring "how they might draw the city of Edinburgh". They were asked to do follow various strategies (work with 2 lines, relocate an existing, meaningful route, draw a spiral) which should all be meaningful walking patterns.

In response to this activity, the participated created various drawings represented in the booklet. Each of the drawings correspond to different ways to interpret the urban environment:

  • Social Practices tended to use the habitual journeys of people, whose Edinburgh is defined by professional, institutional and occupational routines. Following people, or carrying out processes that adhere to centers of employment or practice, these works offer an insight into the city as a container for production.
  • Temporal Projects: the GPS receiver tends to concentrate the user on time: the time that it takes to walk routes, the time between way points, the time between partners.
  • Code Controlled: a series of drawings used Code to inform their development. Following rule bases that were developed, written down and then performed across the city, drawings that used Code tended to reveal the city’s structural properties, and less the social.
  • Ludic: the drawings that embody a Ludic quality that negotiated the landscape through amusement and fun."

Why do I blog this? Even after few years following GPS drawing and the locative media meme, I'm still fascinated about its relevance to analyze urban behaviors. What's interesting IMHO is also to put the drawings next to each other and compare them as represented in the picture above.