The year to date

Just for kicks, here’s everywhere I have been in my local area since the first of the year. Yeah, I know every nerd with a GPS receiver records their tracks around town, but I outnerd them by breaking it down by mode of transportation (and by doing it without GPS).

All movements, all modes of transit. Brighter means more frequent travel over a given path.
Tracks by all modes of transportation

By foot. Same map extent.
Tracks by foot

By car.
Tracks by car

By bus.
Tracks by bus

By train.
Tracks by train

Sweet animation to come following more months of data collection.

Tagged ,


  1. How are you doing it without GPS, just taking detailed notes?

    29 April 2009 @ 12:03am

  2. Detailed mental notes, basically. Each individual trip is usually not too complicated, so it can be retraced after, sometimes with the help of things like Google Street View. There are bound to be a few errors in the map, but I can live that.

    Andy Woodruff
    29 April 2009 @ 9:40am

  3. Okay, then a follow up comment. Are you aggregating your traces at the end of each week/month/day in a spreadsheet/journal/database/GIS?

    6 May 2009 @ 9:16pm

  4. Hey Andy – This is very cool stuff. You have a better memory than I do. This posted reminded me of a similar “art project” that’s been running in the Netherlands for sometime:

    And of course of the maps of “personal space/time geographies” proposed by Hagerstrand and others who worked on time geography in the 60s and 70s (all pre-digital of course):

    Mark Harrower
    7 May 2009 @ 9:46am

  5. Tyler: Nope, I’m being very low tech and just keeping an Illustrator file where I draw the paths over a map sometime after traveling them. I’m missing out on a lot of analysis and statistics, but I didn’t feel like investing too much in this.

    Andy Woodruff
    7 May 2009 @ 10:13am

  6. hi,
    this is a nice map, and I would say probably more accurate than if you’d use a GPS.
    On the other hand you invested a lot more time in this than you would using a GPS. They are cheap and simple. I am wearing a a Garmin device on my wrist for the past three years (foretrex 201 is cheap, forerunner 405 is expensive), its just like a watch. No tracing, a few simple corrections every now and then…
    Some tracking stuff on my blog and currently I am using the technology for my research with a number of participants wearing the devices.

    11 May 2009 @ 2:56pm

  7. Hi Fabian,

    I’ve run across your UrbanDiary project before. Interesting stuff! What sort of technology and/or software does it take to get the data from the GPS unit onto a map? It’s something I’ve never really dealt with because I’ve never had cause to do it for any serious purposes, so I don’t know what the process is like.

    Andy Woodruff
    12 May 2009 @ 12:53pm

  8. andy,
    it is very simple. if you go for a garmin device you can directly download the tracks to google earth. there is also a lot of simple free software to use to do this. as you do graphics I assume your also on a mac so I can recommend, “load my tracks” or “link2gps”.
    standard gps format is .gpx, if from google it will be .kml. to take the tracks into illu for example (will have lost all the geospatial information) you can use a .svg converter. I usually use the because it does a great job and is very simple.
    is there a button to press for following up comment? I nearly missed this conversation…
    I would be interested to feature your track drawings on my blog, do you mind?

    18 May 2009 @ 2:29pm

  9. andy,
    how is the mapping going? Any progress or was this the end?

    18 August 2009 @ 6:33pm

  10. It’s continuing the same as usual. I’m still just drawing my lines on a map. I was thinking I’d try to get a whole year’s worth of data and then come up with some fantastic way to view it. Here’s the current progress for the local Boston area:
    Paths traveled in Boston as of August 2009

    Andy Woodruff
    19 August 2009 @ 1:59pm

  11. hi,
    still on it? I have done some stuff on mental maps. It would be great to have your map in the related flicker pool.
    it is on
    as you draw it all by hand it is sort of a mental map drawn from memory, isn’t it?

    21 October 2009 @ 10:01am

  12. Well, I probably wouldn’t call it a mental map, as it’s from memory but traced over a regular map… but if you want to, feel free to grab any of these images. I like the Flickr pool and will have to explore what you’ve done.

    And yes, I’m still keeping up with this. I think perhaps after it’s been a year I’ll try to put it all together into something more final, like an animation.

    Andy Woodruff
    25 October 2009 @ 5:43pm