Stephen Lund created a doodle of a giraffe riding around Greater Victoria with his GPS.

Cyclist uses GPS tracker to create unique images

When Stephen Lund looks at a map, he doesn't just see streets and parks — he sees images.

When Stephen Lund looks at a map, he doesn’t just see streets and parks — he sees images.

“I see shapes in the map. I look at the road and shapes start to emerge,” said the 50-year-old. “I liken it to seeing shapes in a cloud. Once you get that general shape . . . you can make it into a viable picture.”

It’s those images that Lund recreates by riding his bike and tracking where he goes with his Garmin GPS, weaving through parks and streets.

The project began on New Years Eve 2014 on a whim, when Lund decided to go out the next morning on his bike and, using the red tracking lines of his GPS, write Happy 2015. He also created birthday messages for family members.

Lund has since graduated from messages to intricate images.

Since 2015, he’s created 85 doodles while cycling throughout Greater Victoria, with each image averaging 70 kilometres or a roughly three to four hour ride.

He’s created more simple GPS doodles of a bear, hedgehog and bunny to more complicated doodles including a giraffe, a pilgrim choking a turkey, the statue of David and Santa Claus.

The largest image he’s created was a mermaid, which took him two days to complete and covered 100 square kilometres.

“(Cycling) is a nice mental break from work,” said Lund, who moved to Victoria four years ago from Calgary because of his love of cycling. “What I like about the doodles is it injects a real sense of purpose into the ride. It’s not just a three-hour mindless endeavour for the sake of keeping my pants from getting too tight. There’s an outcome which is exciting to look forward to.”

Creating the red lines on the map require a lot of pre-planning on Lund’s part. Once he sees an image on a map, he plans out the route, relying heavily on Google Maps and satellite view to zoom in and see which roads, schools fields, parking lots and connecting pathways he can cut through.

According to Lund, certain areas of Greater Victoria are ideal for different elements of a doodle.

For example, streets in Oakland make for good lettering, Foul Bay Road makes a good string and the University of Victoria makes a circle, which create the balloon in his happy birthday messages. The southern part of the region, which has a higher density of roads, makes for good detail.

His doodles have generated much interest online — mostly positive reactions. However, there are some skeptics — people saying he created the images in Photoshop.

Lund also links each image to Strava, a site that renders GPS data.

“I can’t trick a GPS. The proof is in the data,” he said, adding he’s currently working on a moose. “It’s a lot of time and kilometres on the bike, but it’s a lot of fun too.”

To see more of Lund’s images visit gpsdoodles.com.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 2.5-magnitude earthquake occurred beneath San Juan Island, Wash. – 25 kilometres from Sidney – late on Oct. 30. (Screenshot via United States Geological Survey)
Minor Washington earthquake felt in Sidney, Victoria

U.S. seismologists report 2.5-magnitude quake late Friday

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak called changes to the More Justice, More Peace mural “offensive” in a statement Oct. 30. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria police chief calls new changes to downtown mural ‘offensive’

‘ACAB’ replaced with a note accusing the City, VicPD of silencing BIPOC

Paul Nestman’s Exemplary Service Award, which will be presented to him on Oct. 27 by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin during a virtual ceremony. (Provided by Tammy Robinson)
‘Trust your team’: Victoria man receives Exemplary Service Award from Coast Guard

Paul Nestman, along with 36 others, receive awards during virtual ceremony

The ‘fall back’ time change Nov.1 means earlier sunrises – and sunsets – for British Columbians. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Clocks ‘fall back’ for B.C. residents on Nov. 1

Daylight Saving Time ends, B.C. still working on permanent switch to ‘spring ahead’ time

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read