Mapping experiment 5 – my final map

For my fifth and final mapping experiment, I will be mapping the journey my dog takes through the bushland surrounding my house. To do this, I will be using my iPhone (with GPS fitness running applications), attached to my dog’s harness. The app will track his every movement as we walk through the fire trails.



 A GPS is a Global Positioning System which is a space-based satellite navigation setup that provides location and time information in all types of weather, anywhere on or near the earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellite’s.


I was able to strap my iPhone which was in a waterproof case, to my dog’s harness using masking tape. The GPS application called Map My Run was used for this experiment. After using this app, i found it was not a satellite view, only street directory map which didn’t show the real images of our surroundings. The next day, i went back over the experiment using a different app called SportsTracker which accurately displayed the environment around us with a red line marking out exactly where my dog has ventured (8.4km).


To create a digital A1 size map using Photoshop, I had to create a custom page with the dimensions 594mm X 841mm

Cropped screen shot

Next I made separate layers, and in each layer I used the brush tool in varying shades of green, brown, blue etc. – the main colours of the bushland. I also used different shaped brush tools to try and get a nice background to build on.

Finished A1 Map

Above is the .pdf link to my final map – a visual representation of GPS tracking software showing the spontaneous journey my dog went on in the bush. I used a leaf pattern to represent his path; and it is interesting to see just how much more running my dog did than I. If I were to track the path I went on in the same area, there would be a lot more straight lines and less zig-zagging around. The points where his path abruptly changes direction is an indicator of when he sensed new information, such as birds, insects, and other people/dogs we came across.

If I had more time to practice with photoshop, I would have liked to map elevation,  and distance/time. This would have looked interesting as a 3D map to show the high and low points of the bush, as the area we journeyed through is situated in a valley.

I believe this map would give new insights to someone who isn’t familiar with the sporadic nature of a dog exploring the wild, however, I did not learn anything new from this map as I am quite used to taking him for walks there.


Experiment 4 – Mapping a garden space

For my fourth experiment I chose to map the garden bed and rock pool in my backyard. My aim was to map the different plants, animals and insects that live in the environment.


I sketched out the area and made symbols to represent different points of interest, which resulted in the following:


The next step in the process was to create a key/legend, to match the symbols with their corresponding feature:


All in all, this was a simple experiment in mapping, similar to what I have done on the ‘noticing walk’ and mapping social interactions in my neighbourhood.

Ideas for my final map – experiments with GPS and iPhone technology

For my final mapping experiment, I am considering using GPS technology to track a route I walk in the bushland near my house. The area is quite large, with fire trail access roads connecting the suburbs of Engadine, Woronora, Woronora Heights, Yarrawarrah and Loftus.

In order to accurately record the path I walk, I plan to use free iPhone software that can track GPS location. This app – called Map My Run, is free to download, and can record your route via GPS and maps.


Image taken from here.

If I can somehow attach my iPhone to my dog’s harness, I can take him with me in the bush and let the app record his movements.

This would provide me with a much more interesting map, as my dog tends to run everywhere, straying off the path and exploring every chance he gets.

I tested the app in my backyard, following my dog as he ran around chasing a soccer ball.

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The app worked as promised. However, due to the small size of my backyard, the red lines are very condensed, and it is difficult to see the exact route. By doing this in the bush, I will have a much bigger area to work with, which will hopefully lead to a better result.

As this is for my final map, I plan on using a satellite image of the area, with the route we walk placed on top. I think I will create a digital A1 sized map, which means I need to brush up on my skills with Illustrator.

Experiment 3 – Mapping Social Interactions

Following on from the ‘noticing walk’ workshop we did at the start of the session, I wanted to map the social interactions of my neighbours at home. I live in a cul-de-sac, which is quieter than some of the busy main roads in my area. I think that, due to the low amount of traffic in my street, there will be an increased amount of social interactions compared to if I were to map out a busy main road or highway.

To start off, I grabbed a satellite image of my street that I can use as a guide to draw my map:

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Then I sat on my balcony and observed at different times of day. In total, I ended up doing three 15 minute observations.

As I did in the workshop, I allocated each interaction a number, and plotted them on my hand-drawn map. They were as follows:

  1. Children playing games
  2. Neighbours talking
  3. Magpies searching for food
  4. Cat sleeping in the sun
  5. Cars coming and going
  6. People door-knocking

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It was an interesting experiment. I don’t think there would have been as many interactions taking place if I had done this observation on a main road or similar. The quiet nature of my cul-de-sac tends to lead to more conversations, children playing etc. I do not think I can use this type of mapping technique in creating my final map.

Mapping Workshop – Noticing Walk

In this workshop we took a walk around the UOW campus and Botanic Garden. The objective of this walk was to notice social interactions that were taking place around us as we walked.

Some of the social interactions I noticed during the walk were:

  • people walking
  • lollipop ladies patrolling the pedestrian crossings
  • families with prams
  • birds and insects
  • people talking on the phone
  • people having conversations
  • students yelling ‘stop’ and ‘go’ as we progressed on our walk
  • people smoking

I drew up a map of the route we walked on, and allocated each event I saw a letter of the alphabet in the key, to make it easier to see what was happening and where.


I tried to take this further by creating a stencil cut-out of the botanic gardens, however the lesson ended before I had a chance to finish this part (see below). It would have looked pretty good as a final product.


This was an interesting workshop. I never usually pay attention to what is happening around me like I did during this walk, so it was good to gain some new insights into social interactions that take place when you are completely silent.

Experiment 2 [PART B] – Creating Topographic Maps

Based on the research done in part A, I have decided that my next mapping experiment will involve the use of contour lines to illustrate how they can be used to show not only geographic features, but also features of the human body. To do this I will be creating a to-scale topographic map of my foot.

Using a stencil knife on this self-healing mat, I cut the different sizes and shapes that were required from black cardboard. Once I had all the pieces I splayed them out across the mat to get an idea of what my map would look like in 2D, before I pieced them together to form the 3-dimensional final product.


This is what I ended up with. All that was left to do was to stack each piece on top of one-another until I had a topographic interpretation of my foot.


All in all I’m quite pleased with how this experiment turned out. It was a simple but entertaining experiment, and I feel that the final product is an adequate representation of how topography can be used to turn a two-dimensional image into a 3D one. However, I don’t think that I will continue with topography or contour lines in creating my final map.

Experiment 2 [PART A] – Researching Topographic maps

Topography is a field of geoscience and planetary science that focuses on studying the surface shape and features of the Earth, and other planets, moons and asteroids. Topography means the description of shape, so when you talk of the topography of the land, you are referring to landscape features including valleys, hills, mountains, lakes, rivers, or the coastline. Any descriptive information about the lay of the land, is part of the topography of that area. Contour lines are used in topographic maps to show elevation and shape of terrain. They are the most distinguishing feature of a topographic map – and connect points of equal elevation. There are three different types of contour lines:

  • Index contour – every fifth line is an index contour. These display the elevation of a line, in order to keep the map simple.
  • Contour line – lines drawn on a map connecting equal points of elevation.
  • Contour interval – in order for a map to be simple and easily read, these show lines for certain elevations only


Image taken from here


An example of contour lines showing topography taken from here