A Detour for Some Fun

A Detour for Some Fun

The guys over at the Nokia Innovations Newsdesk started a contest, “Track a Heart, Win a Nokia N79 Active”. They’re asking participants to use the Nokia Sports Tracker program, available for most Nokia handsets, to trace the shape of a heart on the earth. To enter, go to the Sports Tracker website and create an account, then join the group “Location Artists”. Install the Sports Tracker application on your Nokia mobile and start “drawing”. Your workout routes show up as a continuous line, what you do with that line can be artwork with some planning. Here’s a screenshot of my workout for the contest:

My workout page for the N79 Active contest

My workout page for the N79 Active contest

The planning for my entry too a couple hours using Google Earth. I first looked locally for the most natural heart shaped route, then I printed out the map for easier planning. The way the Sports Tracker application works requires your artwork to be drawn in one continuous path. So it’s not possible to stop your line and begin again elsewhere.

The way I’m using Sports Tracker nearly every day to record my training, I have become quite familiar with it’s features, mostly by trial and error. I noticed that any pause in satellite data would create a straight line (usually) to the point where the satellite signal is picked up again. I also have made mistakes by pausing the application mid-route when I wanted to register a lap instead. These issues and more were resolved a long time ago, but I thought I might be able to turn those problems into a technique for the “Location Art” contest; And it worked.

Once I planned my design, I mapped out a single-continuous route. For easier reference to my path, I saved all the key waypoints in the necessary order as landmarks within my Nokia Maps application on my mobile. I began a new workout at the first scheduled waypoint and, basically, connected the dots (waypoints) as I continued, always referring to the next landmark in my Nokia Maps application. The lines I drew which crossed over the tops of buildings and over water (though it is currently ice anyway) were made possible by pausing the Sports Tracker application at one waypoint then resuming at the next, resulting in a straight line.

Problems. After testing this technique a bit I set out for my first attempt. Sparing you the fine details, I failed. I completed the route, my heart rate high just from adrenaline, and I immediately checked the output. FAIL. My heart looked like a spider web. Not all my waypoints were successfully recorded. I just spent 4,5 hours biking 39,5km and it didn’t work. Oh, and I missed my first scheduled running workout since Christmas…Bad.

Success. The next day I headed out earlier with some ideas on how to insure a better result. Another 4,5 hours and nearly 40km later, I stopped the application and checked the output. It still was missing some waypoints that I had visited, nevertheless, the results were pretty good. Feeling rejuvenated from relief, I resumed my training program when I got home by running some hill repeats; Back to life.

No matter how I fair in this contest, I feel pretty good about having done this little project. I’m more familiar with my city’s streets and found some new shortcuts. I’ll also forever visually regard certain areas of my city relative to this project; “That restaurant is at the bottom of the seven“. Anyway, it was a rather fun detour Nokia provided me with this challenge.

Grand prize is a Nokia N79 Active, featuring the new Polar BT Wear-Link chest strap. Some runner-ups will receive the Polar BT Wear-Link chest strap, compatible with a new version of Sports Tracker on many Nokia devices. Good luck to everyone who enters!

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