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

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

Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $10.25 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $8.65 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
The five most expensive homes for sale in Greater Victoria

A roundup of luxury estates currently on the market

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death of North Saanich likely first in B.C. for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Jimmy Fallon joked that a woman’s 4.5-star review of a Langford jail is “the most Canadian thing you could do” in The Tonight Show Jan. 21. (Screenshot/YouTube)
VIDEO: Jimmy Fallon jokes Canadian jails are basically hotels following woman’s 4.5-star review

Woman gave handwritten card to police following stay in Langford cells

Sidney's Beacon Wharf
Pontoon company piqued at prospect of public-private partnership around Sidney wharf

Seagate approached to submit proposeal for public-private partnership

Following a cease work order from the District of Highlands in October, the BC Supreme Court ruled Jan. 20. that bylaws won’t apply to O.K. Industries’ work until its quarrying activity is complete. (Courtesy of District of Highlands)
BC Supreme Court rules Highlands quarry work can continue

District bylaws won’t apply until quarrying activities are complete

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read