GPS-A-Sketch

Turn your run/bike/walk into a giant Etch-a-Sketch

Reviews

Discussion

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Benjamin LarsonHunter@bjamut · Co-founder, Awesome Geekness
I came across this while checking out current review times for iOS apps. Super fun idea--especially if you live in a grid-based city with small blocks or somewhere with a lot of open area. Going to try it out tonight--see if I can run in the shape of the Product Hunt logo. :)
Joe RosenMaker@joro1 · App Dev, GPSSketch.com Crayovie.com
@bjamut ha, loved that idea! So much so I gave the suggestion a try earlier this afternoon, and attempted to run a pattern in the shape of the great Product Hunt kitty logo, here's the result (it actually didn't come out too bad, I captured the ears pretty well): http://www.gps-a-sketch.com/?f=k... This was in the Presidio of SF, to be exact at Ft. Winfield Scott where there's a big open and empty field that makes it easier to draw patterns. Just like with the real sketching toy it takes a bit of practice to draw shapes. Most days I prefer to just have the app going in the background during a bike ride or long walk, I simply like seeing the random shapes that get drawn regardless of any planned route.
Ryan HooverPro@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Awesome find, @bjamut, and if you etch-a-P, please share. 😀 This reminds me of @willydennis' Hopscotch.
Benjamin LarsonHunter@bjamut · Co-founder, Awesome Geekness
@rrhoover Well, here's the route I took: And here's what I got: Bummer. @joro1: Perhaps it isn't tracking when the phone screen sleeps? I'm not sure where it lost the information, but you must not be tracking absolute GPS location, but rather relative location. Are you throwing away data if you don't know how the user got to a specific location? I still love the idea! I'm looking forward to updates so I can properly "etch-a-P".
Ryan HooverPro@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@bjamut wow! I LOVE that you tried this. Amazing. Too bad it didn't sketch it correctly though. 😔
Joe RosenMaker@joro1 · App Dev, GPSSketch.com Crayovie.com
@bjamut @rrhoover thanks, and thank you @bjamut for giving the app a try, very much appreciate the feedback. GPS-A-Sketch works in the background as long as you leave it in drawing mode. It is however designed to minimize battery drain and will eventually shut off if it doesn't see any new motion. Drawing is based on our own custom algorithm (rather than any existing 3rd party map API), i.e.: DISTANCE between 'Position A -----> Position B' X DIRECTION (angle) between 'Position A -----> Position B' The coordinates are scaled to the screen and displayed as a new line. New coordinates from the GPS draw another new line, and so on. I took a shot at the PH Kitten yesterday, and tried a simple letter "P" this afternoon. e.g. The screen caps on the left are from GPS-A-Sketch (generated with the app's own algorithm) and on the right in RunKeeper (via Google maps API?). With short distances in an outdoor space and with good GPS signal you can pretty much trace a map, but if you travel longer distances or if there are a lot of GPS samples the images do become more abstracted. The app's collecting and saving all GPS samples during a drawing session, so these could (and probably should) be filtered and processed through the e.g. Google or Apple map APIs to make more precise drawings. The goal is for the app to feel similar to a real Etch-A-Sketch, walking biking or running the equivalent of turning the toy's knobs. I had thought using our own custom algorithm would produce more interesting drawings. But the feedback I've been receiving definitely correlates with @bjamut 's experience earlier today, i.e. the app would be more fun if there was at least an option for less abstracted mapping and more accurate drawing.
Sean Do@everywheresean · Web Developer - Photographer
Dangggg, I want to try this out! Android Version pls. :(
Russ Zimmerman@zimmru · Co-founder of Awesome Geekness
Love the idea. You have to move a little farther than I would have thought to get the line to move, but that's not necessarily a bad thing--it encourages more exercise. Also, I find myself wishing there was a mode that showed an overlay of the map where others' drawings were made. BTW, I really like how the interface looks like it was made with a marker--it adds to the nostalgia. Nice job on the app.
Joe RosenMaker@joro1 · App Dev, GPSSketch.com Crayovie.com
@zimmru thanks for the comments, especially appreciative of your noticing the UI/UE graphics, they're literally hand drawn with crayons & colored pencils (and felt tip markers). I sometimes take heat for that unusual design aesthetic ("It looks like my 5 year old draw it", I hear that a lot -- which of course I take as the best kind of compliment!). It does require about 30m/100' of walking/running/biking (depending on accuracy of GPS at the user's current location) to draw a new line. I had thought about adding e.g. a control slider in Settings that allows more precise control over the distance (and time) required to draw a new line, but I also like the bare bones simplicity of the app as is. The overlay of a real map (and/or allowing users to plan their drawing route on real maps) is another great suggestion, a feature I'm very tempted to add.
Joe RosenMaker@joro1 · App Dev, GPSSketch.com Crayovie.com
Thank you, Ben and Ryan! The sketching algorithm itself has a few surprises built in, no two routes will ever be exactly alike. Just as in the real sketching toy there's some skill, art, and serendipity involved in creating the perfect sketch. We're busy adding new features to GPS-A-Sketch which make it even more useful as an exercise app, e.g. displaying distance & duration; and an Apple Watch version is coming soon that allows remote/2nd screen access (handy when running or biking, or any time it's inconvenient to stop/start a new sketch from the iPhone). Questions, comments, and suggestions are very welcome (here on PH or directly at info@gps-a-sketch.com).