GPS is a big draw: Artists, others use global positioning systems to paint images

Most people use GPS, global positioning system technology, for basic navigation.

But some inventive souls have thought of a much bigger use for the technology.

Take Yassan, the Japanese artist whose real name is Yasushi Takahashi.

He trekked across Japan for six months in 2008 to create the largest marriage proposal in the world - drawn using GPS

He drew the words "Marry Me" across the length of Japan, calling it a "letter" to his girlfriend that was 7,163.67 km long.

His epic effort recently went viral online. Takahashi's journey changed his life: Not only did his girlfriend say yes, he is now a GPS artist, and spokesman for hiking boot manufacturer Hi-Tec.

A Hi-Tec "Walkumentary" recounts his record-breaking feat, which was recorded by the Guinness World Records in 2012.

Tools that mark GPS tracks were meant to leave a "bread-crumb trail" that allow navigators to re-trace their route, but it seems to work well as a "digital crayon".

GPS art has been around for a few years now, and it has been used by runners to spice up their runs, as well as artists to create mega works of art.

Here are some GPS drawings that are hugely impressive:

Humongous Halloween

Just last month, British GPS artist Jeremy Wood attempted a new record for a GPS drawing that he claims is larger than Takahashi's but has yet to be officially entered into the Guinness records.

The 9,785km drawing, with a Halloween theme, was commissioned by English carmaker Vauxhall using one of their cars.

Artist Wood is a pioneer of GPS drawing and has been creating geodesic art for more than a decade. He has an online gallery full of amazing art.

One of his recent works is this foetus, mapped out on the etang de l'olivier, a lagoon in Southern France.


Monster spider

Hugh Pryor, another British artist, was also a pioneer. He created this arachnid nightmare in Oxford in 2002.


Elephantine anime

Briton Joseph Tame is a "running artist". The Tokyo-based multi-hyphenate (read, too many occupations to list) creates animals, anime characters, and other drawings on his runs.



He attracts quite a lot of attention as he pounds the roads of Japan, with LED lights coiled around his legs and torso, and a pretty crazy helmet that has cameras mounted both front and back.

The GPS Zoo of Tokyo

This campaign from the Tokyo Zoo asked the public to tweet what animals they wanted drawn onto the map of Tokyo. Using bicycle navigation systems, a panda, lion, koalas, flamingo, zebra and other animals were added to this geoglyph "zoo".

Doodling biker

From a dinosaur on a Segway to a giant turkey on Thanksgiving, US cyclist Michael Wallace goes on what he calls 'virtual geographic adventures'.

Here are some of his fun creations, which can be seen on his Instagram account: