A Healthy Geo-Art Valentines Day

We were impressed by Mission Bicycle’s story about a creative biker who used a GPS tracking health app to send his Valentine a geo-art heart drawn over the streets of San Francisco.

As you can see from the screen shots, Payam burned about 1,135 calories to complete a 27 mile San Francisco bike ride in the rough shape of a heart.  He then sent the results to his long distance girlfriend, Clare, since the weren’t able to spend the holiday together. Payam explained, “I recently moved to San Francisco from Toronto to start a new job, so Clare and I have been doing the long distance thing for the past few months. I wanted to do something a little different to surprise her on Valentine’s Day. I was excited by the possibility of drawing shapes on a map based on the path I ride. We’re both really fascinated by maps and they’ve been a common point of interest throughout our relationship.”

The app used for this stunt was Strava, a GPS tracker and data utility layer that works with Android, iPhone and Garmin. The clean visual platform allows users to share detailed exercise routes with friends and lets them keep track of their favorite trails. Strava also offers competition based features, showing you the other athletes who have covered the same ground so you can see how your own time stacks up.

Geo-Art has been around for a while, hovering in the wings with other nerdy activities like geo-cashing which might become a little more popular with the ubiquity of GPS enabled cell phones. Similar creative location, proxy and augmented reality technologies are slowly but surely making their way into mainstream health and wellness culture; offering people a new way to think about outdoor activity and how their environment might effect their health. Applications like The Eatery, Run Keeper, Coke Zero’s Tron Live Cycles and, one of Health 2.0′s earliest code-a-thon winners, Healthy Commute have all made good use of social geo-location tools. But Payam’s Valentine is a reminder to health app developers that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Health 2.0