Three years of dragging my GPS around with me...

Posted by Alexander Avtanski on 25 May 2011 in English (English)

I recently [re]discovered the years and years of accumulated GPS logs that I had from dragging my GPS with me on every hike or drive and decided to do something with them. After some Perl scripting and ImageMagick processing, I got this:

Click on the picture above for a full size view of this and other images.

BTW, this is my first diary entry - I hope the HTML works... If not, the URL is this: The track visualization video is here:

Location: Edenvale, Santa Clara County, California, 95123, USA

Comment from olejorgenb on 26 May 2011 at 03:26

Nice! I really should clean up and organize my tracks, and this gives me some much needed motivation :) (I have not even close to that many track points though)

Comment from durian on 26 May 2011 at 05:48

Yes, nice! I did something similar with my tracks last year, plotted all my logs with Mapnik. I didn't filter them enough though so I got big clumps where I live and work.

Comment from SB79 on 26 May 2011 at 06:51

Nice! How did you produce the video? Did you use imagemagick in order to produce the video by concatenating the pictures? :-)

Comment from maximeguillaud on 26 May 2011 at 07:43

Very nice ! Note that the -INPUT parameter doesn't work properly, it seems to always fall back to the "input" directory.

Comment from SB79 on 26 May 2011 at 12:50

I can confirm this problem. The "INPUT" parameter doesn't work for me either.

Comment from Alexander Avtanski on 26 May 2011 at 15:21

Hello. Yes, I used ImageMagick - to produce the fuzzy glow effect. I merged the video from the images using VirtualDub.

Regarding the INPUT parameter not working - oops, my bad. The parameter is actually "SRCDIR". I'll update the README.TXT. Thanks for the tip.

Comment from Alexander Avtanski on 26 May 2011 at 15:45

UPDATE: Thanks for the feedback. I updated the README.TXT to list the correct parameter (SRCDIR instead of INPUT) and included in the zip file on the site a sample script that uses ImageMagick to produce the halo effect.

Comment from Hawkeye on 26 May 2011 at 17:21

I assure you, that was no waste of time or computing power! :-)

Comment from Anna_AG on 27 May 2011 at 12:54

Love it - agreed - no waste of time - what are computers for?

Comment from Windsurfer62 on 28 May 2011 at 07:10

Great - It deserves to be used everywhere.

Comment from Claudomiro on 29 May 2011 at 01:26

This is so coool, pure art! Congratulations

Comment from qaysedcftgb on 2 June 2011 at 22:42

I enjoyed the show. Grats!

Comment from gecho111 on 3 March 2015 at 00:25

Are the RUNNER parameters used generate a sequential series of images for a track? I can’t quite figure out how to use them.

Comment from Alexander Avtanski on 4 March 2015 at 20:27


Sorry for the late reply - I’ve been down with the flu.

The runners parameter just specifies a bunch of points where the trail should end - they correspond to the bright doors on the video. They do not generate a sequence of images. If you want a sequence, you need to run the script multiple times, each time with the runners moved a few points ahead.

It’s a bit tricky. However, I have written another tool that can be help generate any kind of movie - you can check it here:

The easiest way to make an animation is to project the GPS data, export it to X3D format, load it in any 3D animation tool (like Blender, free) then animate any way you want:

Comment from gecho111 on 7 March 2015 at 18:01

Thanks. Last year over the course of 73 bike rides totaling about 4000 km I covered every road and alley in my city. I thought it would be neat if I could create video drawing the path I took.

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