QS15 Conference Preview: Stephen Cartwright on 17 Years of Location Tracking
March 4, 2015
On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful facilities at the Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with two days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers, plus a third day dedicated to the Activate public expo. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.
Stephen Cartwright has been attending the QS Conferences since 2012, where he first spoke about his ambitious geolocation tracking project. As an associate professor at the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches sculpture, digital fabrication, and furniture design, Stephen brings an interesting and welcomed point of view and set of experiences to our show&tell program.
At the QS15 Conference he will be sharing his process and what he’s learned from tracking his location every hour using a GPS for the last 17 years. He will describe how his practice has changed and adapted to new technologies over the years, including how active versus passive tracking techniques have impacted this project.
My tracking informs my life and especially my art, so I will consider my tracking through the lens of my 3D data visualization sculpture. The artistic aspect of my work allows the data visualization to become more than informative graphs, they become new landscapes of data.
We’re excited to have Stephen joining us and asked him a few questions about himself and what he’s looking forward to at the conference.
QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?
Stephen: This is a difficult question, I use different tools for different stages of my work. My practice would be nowhere without a GPS. It took me a long time to replace my Garmin stand-alone GPS but I now use the MotionX GPS app for my iPhone. My requirements for these apps/devices is that the waypoints have to be saved with the date and time attached.
QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?
Stephen: The conference is a great place to be among like-minded people and share ideas and inspiration. Although all the attendees have a lot in common everyone comes to self-tracking from a different angle and seeks different outcomes. I love to see how similar practices result in improvements in performance and health, self-help, and even art.
QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference?
Stephen: Come talk to me about the intersection of art and science, data-visualization, and GPS/location tracking.
QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?
Stephen: I am looking for the best smart phone based step and movement tracker.
QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?
Stephen: I would like to hear more about the relationship between individual trackers and larger data studies. How well do we know ourselves as compared to what can be inferred about us by our data footprint or studies of people in similar circumstances?
Stephen’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition.
Bonus Video of Stephen’s Data: