Life Patterns

Curious about my daily patterns I decided to explore the location data from my cell phone recorded over the course of a year. I set out to make a year long installation where people could see where I was in real time, as I move about my life.

I started out by creating a map with TileMill and then laser-etching it onto wood, creating a 16 square foot map of NYC:

I used openPaths on my phone to record the location data. To access that data I wrote a Ruby script that goes online and gets any new locations I’ve been too and updates a CSV file containing all my locations:

This script is run from within openFrameworks automatically, which I used for the visuals. I wanted to create something similar to a flight pattern map that airlines use. To do this I decided that if the next point was above the preceding point the path would curve upwards, and if it was below, downwards. Also, I thought the radius of the arc should be based on the distance between the current point and the destination point, so some fun trigonometry ensued:

I then used MadMapper to projection map on the wood:

Of course, can’t have the grey map image projected too, so just black for the background:

What was really interesting to me, was how beautiful the predictability of my life ended up being, drawn out like this. But perhaps I should explore all those blank areas on the map more? Let me know where you think I should go…

Here’s some video:


The Glockentar combines a glockenspiel with a guitar.


Each time a string is plucked a glockenspiel bell is struck with a solenoid, and a beam of light is projected across the length of the string.



The light follows a logarithmic┬ácurve in terms of it’s speed as it goes up and down the string. It starts fast, pauses for a moment then goes back down the string.

The lights are essentially rectangles made in openFrameworks, then sent to MadMapper via Syphon.

In MadMapper they are then mapped to the strings.


An Arduino is used to turn the strings into switches. Each string acts as a ground, and electricity is sent to the pick. When a string is plucked with the pick the switch is closed and the solenoids and projections are triggered.


Here is the Arduino code:

Here is the OF code: