The Big Draw
Modern Art Oxford and the GPS Drawing Project with St. Ebbe's Primary School.
The education team at Modern Art Oxford co-ordinated an off-site project at
St. Ebbe's Primary School in Oxford.
The three-day workshop involved the scaling-up of simple line drawings in a playing field near the school using handheld GPS receivers.
The workshop prompted the Year 5 pupils, aged nine and ten, to test their perceptions of scale alongside their navigational skills.
It linked Art to other areas of the curriculum such as Geography, Maths and Information Technology.
The drawings were first prepared on an A4 plan of the field, and then enlarged
about 1000 times bigger by using the map as a guide and pacing along the drawings
As we moved about our tracks appeared on the screen of the receiver.
This helped us to see where we had just been and to judge where we had to go next.
Back at the school we could instantly see the results of each walk on a computer.
A good starting point was to imagine the drawing on the surface of the field and to determine where each part of the image was in relation to where you stood.
Making the best use of the area available by not running out of space proved to be important.
A simple line drawing was first prepared as a map for the scaling-up exercise.
In small groups the pupils then walked along the route of the drawing using the original drawing to guide their way.
The original drawing of the rocket made on paper is shown below on the left
and the GPS drawing is on the right.
The GPS rocket was made after 893 metres of walking over twenty-one minutes and seventeen seconds with an average speed of 2.5 km/h.
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The cat was amongst the more adventurous drawings that were produced.
The original paper plan is on left and the scaled-up GPS drawing is on the right.
The data revealed that it took 34 minutes of walking and has a line length of 1.68 km.
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A GPS maze was created for the pupils so they could navigate through a virtual
course to reach a finish point.
The boundary of the field is marked in yellow.
There were eight attempts taking around ten minutes each.
We were surprised to have made so many different drawings over the two-day
The children were lively and eager to participate in using the technology creatively.
Here are all the GPS drawings presented at the same scale,
there were a few attempts at the same drawing and the colour examples are the combined results:
Exhibition at Modern Art Oxford
10-30 November 2002
The project was conducted entirely at the school while the gallery was being
We produced and installed a display for the new entrance to coincide with the gallery's re-opening to the public in November 2002.
The display included an outline of the project and showed a selection of the
drawings presented at 1:800 scale.
With five GPS receivers we recorded a sum total of 21 hours and 22 minutes and an average speed of 1.65 miles per hour.
Amin Abdul, Eliza Acty, Jubael Ali, Rajohn Ali, Tomas Bailey, Humphrey Burke, David Carter, Daniel Chaplin, Esra Chrediy, Jane Daglish, James Donovan, Peter Endicitt, James Francis-Barrie, Connor Freeman, Louise Garatt, Sophi Hill, Lucy Hodder, Typhon King, Jack Kovandzich, Michaela Lester, Hannele Lewis-Anthony, Grace Low, Jacob Lyons, Nicola McEvoy, Patience Mensah, Sultan Miah, Natasha Obied-Mogridge, Nicholas Scales, Hannah Smith, Tallulah Smith, Matthew Stancliffe-Bird, Jonathan Stuart, Josephine Tootill, Helen Waters, Bobbie Whitney-Metcalfe, Joshua Williams-Bradley.
A special thanks to Sarah Mossop from Modern Art Oxford who co-ordinated the workshop. We are also grateful to Sue Matthew, headteacher at St. Ebbe's Primary School, and class teachers Saskia Van Der Zee and Claire Whyles for their enthusiasm and support for the GPS Drawing project.