Tag Archives: GPS

What We Are Reading

We hope you enjoy this week’s list!

Articles
Are Google making money from your exercise data?: Exercise activity as digital labour by Christopher Till. Christopher describes his recent paper, Exercise as Labour: Quantified Self and the Transformation of Exercise into Labour, which lays out a compelling argument for considering what happens when all of our exercise and activity data become comparable. Are we destined to become laborers producing an expanding commercialization of our physical activities and the data they produce?

How Big is the Human Genome? by Reid J. Robinson. Prompted by a recent conversation at QS Labs, I went looking for information about the size of the human genome. This post was one of the most clear descriptions I was able to find.

Show&Tell

VacationGPS
Visualizing Summer Travels by Geoff Boeing. A mix of Show&Tell and visualization here. Geoff is a graduate student and as part of his current studies he’s exploring mapping and visualization techniques. If you’re interested in mapping your personal GPS data, especially OpenPaths data, Geoff has posted a variety of tutorials you can use.

Visualizations

SymptomViz
Symptom Portraits by Virgil Wong. For 30 weeks Virgil met with patients and helped them turn their symptoms into piece of art work and data visualization.

Data Visualization Rules, 1915 by Ben Schmidt. In 1915, the US Bureau of the Census published a set of rules for graphic presentation. A great find by Ben here.

From the Forum
Moodprint
Measuring Cognitive Performance
Looking Forward to Experimenting

Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

QS Gallery: Eric Jain

Today’s gallery image comes to us from Eric Jain. Eric is the creator of Zenobase a neat data aggregation and tracking system. He’s also been a great contributor to our community at meetups in Seattle, our conferences, and on the forum.

This map shows my outdoor trips in the Pacific Northwest since 2008. Red is driving, yellow is hiking or paddling. The map doesn’t just help me remember past trips, but also helps me decide what areas to explore next. The tracklogs were recorded with a Garmin GPS device, processed with a simple script and uploaded to Google Fusion Tables with additional meta data stored for each trip in my Zenobase account.

Posted in QS Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

QS Gallery: Aaron Parecki

We thought it fitting to include Aaron Parecki’s great visualization of his GPS tracking logs here in our QS Gallery. If you haven’t already, you can view his great talk here, during which he describes his process.

Five years of my personal GPS logs.

Posted in QS Gallery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

QS Gallery: Bill Schuller

Today’s QS Gallery entry comes to us from Bill Schuller. Be sure to check out his blog, Data Obsessive, to learn more about this visualization and other interesting self-tracking projects.

A driver made a left turn from a stright-only lane right in front of me as I was proceeding straight through the intersection from my straight or left lane. I have occasionally turned on the accelerometer and gyro logging in FluxStream Capture while I drive. This time around, I have even more data. You can see the massive deceleration and the associated spike in my heart rate and drop in my beat spacing (RR). I haven’t pulled my GPS data yet, but I was able to spot this easily in the FluxStream graph. Those dips in the Acceleration data really stand out. Interestingly, my heart rate also reflects my mood afterward.

Initially relieved that I didn’t get hit this time, then enraged that it had nearly happened again, calming slowly as I composed in my head a letter to the City of Addison imploring them to add more signage at that intersection.

Posted in QS Gallery | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Numbers From Around the Web: Round 7

Where are you? A pretty easy question to answer. But, what about, “Where was I?” Not so easy to answer, especially when we start talking about periods of time more than a few days or weeks. Sure, we all have GPS running on our phones now. We can check in with Foursquare/Facebook/Path etc. to keep a log of locations, but that data is fragmented and only represents certain specific locations. What about paths? What would we learn if we knew more about how we traveled about our world?

Aaron Parecki is one of the founders of Geoloqi, a location-based services platform. He has also been tracking his location every 6 seconds for the last four years and he has created some amazing visualizations to better understand his movement:

You may think this is just a boring old map with some travel data layered on top, but what makes this map special is that there is no underlying geospatial data. The lines you see above are Aaron’s actual travel paths from his GPS data. Using this information you can easily see the well traveled roadways by finding the thicker lines. You can even quickly pick out freeways and interstates due to their high speed.

Here you see Aaron’s data for the last four years (again, there are only the GPS traces). You can see he’s color-coded the data ro represent different years in order to see where he spends his time.

Aaron has a lot more visualizations of his GPS traces, but I’ll leave you with this neat video showing a timelapse of his minute-by-minute movement:

Every few weeks be on the lookout for new posts profiling interesting individuals and their data. If you have an interesting story or link to share leave a comment or contact the author here.

Posted in Numbers from Around the Web | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Numbers From Around the Web: Round 6

There is something really magical about taking data and turning it into a compelling visual image. Even though I’ve already written a bit about the importance of making data visual, I am consistently amazed at how data can be made more appealing and informative by creating eye-popping graphics. Today we are devoting this NFATW post to some amazing projects with beautiful data.

Tom MacWright is an engineer for MapBox and Development Seed and spends his time creating and using amazing visual representations of his data. Here are just two of many wonderful projects.

A New Running Map

Tom wasn’t happy with the data visualization he was getting from his Garmin GPS and heart rate watch so he decided to build his own using tools he works with every day. What came out was a really interesting interactive website that visualizes his running routes along with his heart rate. Click on the image above to play around with him data.

He’s also created a unique representation of the same time of running data (GPS + HR) that anyone can play with called Ventricle. Ventricle allows you to plot your own running data if you have .gpx files.

A run plotted on Ventricle by Tom MacWright

Minute

I’ve had a long standing interest in how I spend my time interacting with my computer. As a long time RescueTime user I’ve gotten used to having something watching my computer use and informing me about my habits. Tom was also interested in his computer use, but wanted something that had less functionality while still giving him information that was important. So, he developed Minute, a keystroke counter and visualization system that constantly records and displays the keystroke frequency over time.

Tom MacWright's keystroke visualization

By using a heat map he is able to better understand the pattern of his technology usage. Interestingly, he is also able to make inferences about his sleep and leisure time as he treats them as the inverse of his keystroke time:

Minute is an open-source application hosted on github so if you’re interested in understanding your own computer use or want to contribute to the project go take a look at the source code.

We’ll wrap up today with a quote from Tom’s post on what he learned from developing and using Minute:

Tracking nearly anything you do is alarming and humbling. The aggregates of our actions are lost on us: we can watch hundreds of hours of television and write it off as a small time commitment. How much is too much? It’s hard to make pretty charts without learning something and thinking about what they should look like.

Every few weeks be on the lookout for new posts profiling interesting individuals and their data. If you have an interesting story or link to share leave a comment or contact the author here.

Posted in Numbers from Around the Web | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crowd-Tracking Noise and Air Pollution

montreverte.png

A new noise/ozone sensor watch being tested in Europe.

Quantified Self enthusiast David Purdy asked me one day, “Why aren’t people measuring simple ambient things like background noise?”
I didn’t have a good answer at the time, but I do now. It turns out a project in France is doing just what David suggested.

Continue reading

Posted in Personal Projects | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Exposure: GPS Insight Punishes a Competitor

The same ubiquitous traces that make it easier for us to track ourselves make it easier for other people to track us. So we always take an interest in stories of accidental self-exposure. Here, without too much comment, is a link to today’s notable incident. It comes from the world of GPS tracking; specifically, from a highly competitive business sector where, we gather, salespeople commonly pose as customers to gain knowledge of what their rivals are doing.
 
adamleslie4.thumbnail.pngIn this case, a sales guy from one company got a bit too aggressive, and his target took revenge. Using server records, IP searchers, a Plaxo and LinkedIn profile, and some archived Craigslist postings, the folks at GPS insight published a pretty embarrassing account.

Rob Donat, the President of GPS Insight, has done this sort of thing before. Last year he noticed a single order he described as “fishy,” and figured out that it was coming from Jim Duncan, President of NavTrak, another competitor. Donat posted the record of his investigation on his blog.

There is a lesson here that probably doesn’t need to be spelled out.

Posted in News and Pointers | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Nike+ Apple Workout Monitor

Nike +” is the monitoring system embedded into specific Nike shoes which allow you to record data about your runs. In one version (not the Sports Band) the system transmits this information to your iPod, and soon to your iPhone.

Apple has filed patents for improving the system. According to Engadget which publicized the filed patent application, the newest features of Apple’s include additional sensors in the shoe.

Nike-Plus-Next-Gen-Patent

“The system relies on integrating GPS and additional shoe-based sensors into the system measuring your stride, the condition of the shoe, and perhaps even blasting you advertisements along your run route. The system can measure your velocity with accuracy in the range of 0.1 MPH, and let you know if you’re a toe-planter or a heel-planter when you run.”

Also according to Engadget, Nike + Apple are extending their system so it can communicate with gym equipment. “Nike and Apple worked with major gym equipment manufacturers to make their cardio equipment Nike + iPod compatible so gym members can easily track and record workouts on cardio equipment like treadmills, stair steppers, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes. According to Nike’s own announcement, Life Fitness, Precor, Star Trac and Technogym are already on board and working on iPod-ready equipment, while participating gyms (including 24 Hour Fitness and Virgin Active Health Clubs) are supposedly set to starting rolling ‘em out sometime this summer.”

Nike’s site currently lists 10 locations where gyms are compatible with NIke + gear.

Lifestyle-Companion-Iphone-Treadmill

Nike-Big Gym Pr 000

Posted in Tool Roundups | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Self-Tracker

1-Tsii-2T

Smack in the middle of the arena of self-surveillence is this tiny flash-stick-sized location tracker, the Trackstick. It is tiny. Gets lost in your coat pocket, or backpack. You carry it around wherever you go. Once a month you download its records from its built in USB port and plot your course on an online mapping service, like Google Earth.

Rome Col2-1

The device has no display and its small AAA batteries are cheap — but they will last only one week.  You can find a Trackstick II for about $180 at Google Earth store.  I have not used one, so can’t verify how well it picks up satellites in your pocket.

Posted in Tool Roundups | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment