Social_Net_Works: A Hybrid Art Show About Networks and Technology
On Wednesday, July 14th, RECESS gallery will have a show called Social_Net_Works. Social_Net_Works will look at projects spanning mediums and approaches that all deal with social networking and technology. Aaron Parecki and I will be showing some of the GPS data we’ve gathered in the past 1-2 years, some of it as a result of an open source mobile GPS tracker we’re building called Geoloqi.
There will be four other artists presenting social network related art. One artist, Alicia Gordon, is presenting a series of photographs staged from “Casual Encounters” ads on Craigslist. Another artist is doing a performance piece “Best Friend for Ten Minutes,” a project stemming from his “Best Friends for a Day” that began as a service offered on the web for strangers to respond to.
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: RECESS Gallery
Address: 4315 SE Division St., Portland, OR
We’ll have five pieces up, including four views of GPS data over time (one being the image of 10 million GPS points presented at Research Club). Each piece will have a 16″ by 20″ printed board explaining each map. The pieces will be a mix of portrait and landscape views. The images will include two years’ worth of Aaron Parecki’s GPS data and six months of my data.
Aaron Parecki’s GPS map: two years of data (color-coded by speed).
Amber Case’s GPS map: six months of data (color-coded by time of day).
In addition, there will be a video of Aaron Parecki’s GPS trails animated over time. It will cycle through a visualization of 10 million GPS points.
Tori Abernathy, the show’s organizer, brought up a good points. GPS maps can be used as a sort of self portrait. In a sense, they already are (at least in terms of location). She mentioned The one that Aaron showed with a cluster in the NW of small black lines and with thicker, more colorful, fewer lines in the more far reaching parts of town, really hearkened to neural connections, or the cardiovascular system, or tree branches or something like that to me. Aside from that, she said, they still seemed to reveal a lot about a person. She concluded be mentioning her interest in working with them in a more historical self portrait medium like paint.
Weaving GPS into Fabric
Curiously enough, I was contacted by another artist, one that deals with textiles, a few days later. She said that she loved the idea of GPS portraits and wanted to stitch GPS trails into fabric. It will be curious to send her a couple of GPS images and see what she produces.
Visualizing Ten Million Points of GPS Data
This is 10 million GPS points plotted onto a map. It is also a portrait of Aaron Parecki’s life in Portland, Oregon. The dark lines represent slow speeds, and the red lines represent fast speeds. Through this map it is easy to see the relative highways and speeds of traffic present in Portland.
Amber Case’s Boost Mobile Phone running Instamapper, sending data every 30 seconds.
Aaron Parecki’s Windows Mobile Phone running Tracker.eu, updating at 6 second intervals.
Aaron Parecki visited Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with his friend Silas, resulting in the following GPS maps. Silas rented a Zipcar, so they were able to cover a lot of ground.
Tracking in New York
But when Aaron visited Manhattan, the GPS data became sparse. The tall building threw off the GPS and made it difficult to get a fix. Also, the GPS was not able to get a fix while underground. Thus, Aaron’s GPS data looks pretty spotty for Manhattan, with little squiggles popping up just at the points where he went above ground.
Mine were not much better, as you can see below.
The big splash of gray next to Chelsea represents the period of time sleeping and the day I got sick. Aaron turns his tracker on only when he changes location, while I tend to leave my GPS tracker when I’m not moving. When this happens, the data points continue to pile up, revealing the amount of time I spent in a location.
I took my Boost Mobile Phone to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, BC and got some pretty good data. I stayed within the same 10-15 block area the entire time. Everything was walking distance, and I used no form of transportation the entire time, from the moment I got to Vancouver at the train station, to the moment I went home.
Using GPS Tracking for Geonotes
In addition to mapping out our paths with GPS-enabled phones, we have the ability to be sent Geonotes. Geonotes are a form of virtual geocaching. One can walk around the city and suddenly get a message that someone left before. They’ve been very fun to receive and write. My favorite one was from Don Park. He left it for me right on the Hawthorne bridge. When I passed over the bridge, I got a text message that told me a bit of trivia about the bridge. He left me another one on Mt. Tabor, telling me where the best berries were. It provided an Easter Egg like feeling of serendipity.
Everyone that runs Geoloqi will be able to send and receive Geonotes. Right now, it’s simply more complicated to do, as we’ve been using Instamapper and Tracker.eu to gather GPS data. Geoloqi will enable almost anyone will a mobile device to easily participate in GPS tracking.
Tracking GPS Data with Geoloqi on the iPhone
Here you can see the settings screen for Geoloqi on iPhone. The sliders can easily be changed depending on what type of data you want to record. For instance, Aaron Parecki takes data every six seconds, resulting in very high resolution maps. However, this is difficult on his phone battery. When I run Geoloqi, I have it set to update far less, which makes me only have to charge the battery twice per day – once in the afternoon, and again at night. The data is still high enough resolution to see an overall view of where I’ve been, as you can see in the maps of Portland and Eugene above.
Tracking Data with Geoloqi
Two months ago, we built a Geoloqi prototype for iPhone iOS4 and installed it on my phone. Suddenly the resolution of the data that I was able to gather greatly increased. As you can see in the map below, the data is much more regular and less jumpy. This was because I was able to send data from the phone to the server at much smaller intervals.
This data was made using the Geoloqi app I have running on my iPhone 3GS. It runs in the background, so I can still do other things on my phone while tracking. As it tends to eat the battery, I have it set on the lowest settings possible. The resolution of data is still very good, as you can see here. The loop near Naito Pkwy is very high resolution, for instance.
I also took my phone to Eugene, which has a very different interaction footprint than Portland has. As I don’t live in Eugene, my patterns there were very different than Portland. My Portland footprint looks very much the same over time. I go home, and then to work. If I’m not there, I’m usually at my office in Chinatown. Eugene was a vacation-like trip, so the interactions with the landscape were quite different.
Aaron runs his GPS tracker while on the plane, too. He has GPS data for all of the flights he’s taken for the last two years. Here’s the GPS trail of a flight from San Francisco to Long Beach.
Show Information: Date, Time and Location
Social_Net_Works at RECESS Gallery
Date: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: RECESS Gallery
Street: 4315 SE Division St.
City/Town: Portland, OR
About RECESS Gallery
RECESS is an artist-run center located in the ground level of the Artistery, in Portland, Oregon. The 2,000-square-foot space is dedicated to nurturing emergent, experimental contemporary practices in a universally accessible environment. With a focus on content-oriented work, RECESS hopes to foster new forms of cultural development, and spark a discourse of change within the art community and the community at large. In conjunction with the Artistery, we’re is not limited to curatorial projects. Public lectures, workshops, shows, and other community-based events are all welcome.
About Amber Case
Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and interface architect from Portland, Oregon. She studies the interaction between humans and computers and how our relationship with information is changing the way cultures think, act, and understand their worlds. Her main focus is on mobile software, augmented reality and data visualization, as these reduce the amount of time and space it takes for people to connect with information. Case founded Geoloqi.com out of a frustration with existing social protocols around text messaging and wayfinding. In 2008, Case founded CyborgCamp, an unconference on the future of humans and computers. To attend, visit http://portland.cyborgcamp.com/.
You can learn more about Case at www.cyborganthropology.com, and you can follow her on twitter at @caseorganic.
About Aaron Parecki
Aaron Parecki is a Portland-based PHP developer and GPS enthusiast. His fascination with GPS began at the age of 6, when he began tracing the routes of family road trips on a map with a highlighter. This interest has grown into groundbreaking new methods of location sharing and data collection.
Two years ago, Parecki began tracking GPS data at six second intervals, netting him a high resolution portrait of his geographical travels. Shortly thereafter, he began to experiment with automatic location check-ins and proximal notification systems. He also began using GPS to control the lights in his house and perform other automated actions.
Parecki founded Geoloqi.com in an effort to make GPS tracking and advanced co-location protocols available to the general public. You can learn more about Aaron at www.aaronparecki.com, and you can follow him on twitter at @aaronpk.
Follow @geoloqi on Twitter!
Just click on the friendly dinosaur! His name is Loqi. He’ll tell you when Geoloqi for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm are ready. And if you want to be a beta tester or help us develop it, simply head on over to Geoloqi.com!