Waterloo runner draws Blue Jays logo as GPS art

A runner, YouTuber and graphic designer from Waterloo has captured attention online by creating the Toronto Blue Jays’ logo as GPS art.

Ricky Martin said he was trying to find a way to make running in winter more fun

Ricky Martin of Waterloo said he had to get a little creative to create the Blue Jays' logo while running. (Ricky Martin)

A runner, YouTuber and graphic designer from Waterloo has captured attention online by creating the Toronto Blue Jays' logo as GPS art.

Ricky Martin posted the image to Reddit in early March. It's since been featured on the Canadian Running website and BlogTo.

A friend introduced Martin to GPS art when they were talking about the challenges of running in the cold including the slippery conditions of an Ontario winter, he said.

The practice involves mapping a running route in the shape of the image one wants to create, then using the GPS functions of a running app to trace the route so that it draws a line on its map in the shape of the image.

"I was just blown away by some of the incredible designs that people have made," Martin said. "I really wanted to give it a try myself."

Finding the right route

Roads in Kitchener and Waterloo lack a typical grid pattern that makes it easy to sketch out a design as if on graph paper, Martin said.

"There are a lot of curving and winding roads. And from a glance, it doesn't look like there's a whole lot of structure," he said. "So I just noticed a group of roads that sort of looked like the outline of the Blue Jays logo." 

However, the streets weren't in the right place to form the beak or the Maple Leaf, he added. So he poured over the map for more than an hour in order to figure out a way to make it work. 

He had to get creative and use Google StreetView to see where he could cut through properties and make use of open spaces such as parking lots, he said.

"I didn't go through any people's houses or anything like that," Martin said. "There was one place in particular where I kind of ran in between two apartment buildings. And I didn't realize this until I was actually on my run, but there was a little, like a short fence that I actually had to end up hopping to get through."

Future plans

The whole route was a bit more than 10 kilometres, he said — not too strenuous for a runner who's competed in marathons. 

The project has earned Martin some fans online, but there's been no word from the Blue Jays organization, he added.

Martin has no definite plans to create more GPS art, but he's contemplated creating images for all the Toronto sports team logos, he said.

"I also thought — I have no idea if this would be possible — but I thought it'd be really cool to do [José] Bautista's bat flip," he said. "That's one of my favourite moments as a Blue Jays fan. If I could figure out a way to pull that off, I think that would be pretty sick."


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