[eroft week 4] writing with location data

Around 6 months ago, I turned on my personal location tracking data in Google Maps on my phone, so I can see where it says I’ve been. You can download the data in a json file that looks like this:

I like the idea that all the places I have been on earth—when and where I went—could be translated into a secret message.

So I decided to see if I could transform my location data into writing. I got a list of English words from here, and then wrote a (janky) script to take the last digit of each value of each location object, and then find the corresponding word in the list.

I also added some logic to add in punctuation based on whether or not the resulting number was divisible by certain numbers.

At first, I played with a bit of randomness, but I realized that for this exercise, it was better to make sure that the script was written in a way such that the results would be the same each time. I think that contributes to the idea that the places I’ve been communicate a specific message. (And if anyone else imputed their own Google location data, they would get one result.) So I took out the randomness.

The results and code are here.

But here are some snippets I like:


retrievals singling shmooze begun cruck awarded anabranch crickets microlith antiprohibition, froghopper aleurone?

arbitrament advisees impulsing unadvised notching cargoes.

veggieburger auriculas waveband apperceptions treasurable areola rhizobium economist hipster appending locusts skirting bequeather d�butantes abruptest karat!


adulterants, aphrodisiacs apologetically discomposure manhattan.

gitterns fictionist balladist!

tittered biotechnology tricorns, mulcting spadefish assassination disbelievers pushier?


infuse teargassing badge!

serval aerifies seasonally, sarcophagus arsonists?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: