Michael “Wally” Wallace, a Baltimore middle school science teacher, is a practitioner of a peculiar art form. His works, which he spends hours planning and executing, are created with a beat-up mountain bike, an Android smartphone, and the streets and open spaces of his home city as canvas. But the only way his creations can be seen is when he shares them on his Instagram and Twitter feeds, or on the Strava fitness tracking application.
For the past eight years, Wallace—who goes by “WallyGPX” on his chosen platforms—has been a “GPS artist,” drawing his creations Etch-A-Sketch-style with tracks of global positioning data left by his bike routes. Wallace is one of a collection of early adopters of fitness tracking apps who discovered that they could turn their runs, bike routes, and other tracking data into a form of geeky, sometimes subversive self-expression.