GPS artist makes Ottawa streets his canvas, bicycle his brush

An avid cyclist from Victoria, B.C., who uses a GPS tracking app called Strava to "draw" pictures while he bikes, is in Ottawa this week to create a city-sized doodle.

'Wish I could say I free-hand these, but it is all about the planning ahead of time,' says B.C. 'Cycleangelo'

GPS artist Stephen Lund made this version of Da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man" by cycling a precise route around central Ottawa Tuesday. (Stephen Lund)

An avid cyclist from Victoria, B.C., who uses a GPS tracking app called Strava to "draw" pictures while he bikes is in Ottawa this week to create a city-sized doodle.

Stephen Lund is in Ottawa this week to create some GPS doodles. (CBC)

His pictures run the gamut, from giraffes and seahorses to dinosaurs and Santa Claus, mermaids and unicorns. His oeuvre even extends to the risqué.

"Interesting story. I had a lot of requests to draw genitals and I thought that was rather crude, so I thought I'd better give it some context. I said, 'If I ever do genitals, I would do it on the statue of David.' And ultimately, I did," said Stephen Lund on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Tuesday.

Lund — nicknamed "Cycleangelo" by his admirers — is in Ottawa to create a special work of physical/digital art in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Optometrists, to promote the importance of eye exams to overall health. 

Ottawa doodle could take 6 hours

It's a figure based on the famous Leonardo Da Vinci drawing called the Vitruvian Man. The figure's head sits near Parliament Hill and the torso near Carleton University, with its arms outstretched to the east and west.

"So it covers a fair chunk of the city. ... It'll be a little slower-going than usual because it's a brand-new city for me and I don't want to make any wrong turns. If you make a wrong turn with a GPS drawing, you have to go back to the start," Lund said.

Before he started he said he thought it would take him about six hours to complete.

Lund plans the routes in advance using a map, and writes himself a series of directions to follow while he's cycling.

"I wish I could say I free-hand these, but it is all about the planning ahead of time," he said.

Still, these are pretty cool.

Check out some of Lund's older designs

Lund created this Yoda doodle. (Stephen Lund/GPSdoodles.com)
Here's an angler fish. (Stephen Lund/GPSdoodles/com)
This New Year's greeting Lund's first attempt at GPS doodle art. (GPSDoodles.com/Stephen Lund)
Queen Elizabeth II? Wow. (GPSDoodles.com/Stephen Lund)
And here's the statue of David. (Stephen Lund/GPSdoodles.com)

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