Leaving an imprint on India!

Our Bureau | Updated on: Mar 07, 2019

Maruti Suzuki celebrates Swift’s ICOTY hat-trick with unique drive that uses GPS Art

Commemorations of wins, anniversaries or of awards are usually marked by celebrations and events that turn out on expected ‘lines’. But, Maruti Suzuki’s celebration of the landmark hat-trick ICOTY win for the Swift was a bit Hatke .

Maruti Suzuki’s hot hatch, the Swift, is the winner of the Indian Car Of The Year 2019 award. Winning the ICOTY is quite the achievement and the award is considered the most prestigious in the Indian automobile industry. The Swift has become the only car brand in India to win this award a record three times — 2006, 2012 and 2019. Every successive generation of the Swift, starting from the first one, has managed to land the ICOTY; a milestone Maruti believed was worth commemorating in a unique way.

Last month, Maruti Suzuki celebrated this landmark hat-trick win by lining up five Swifts that were to then traverse across the length and breadth of the country to literally leave an imprint as part of a unique drive called the Swift ICOTY Drive 2019. Using GPS Art, the five cars were driven individually over a pre-planned and pre-mapped route to actually write the five letters — S.W.I.F.T — of the brand on the Map of India. Upon completion and combining the GPS registered routes of all the five Swifts, the zoomed out result was a slightly sketchy, but alphabetically near perfect rendition of the brand name drawn across the country.

The cars were driven by the top motoring journalists of the country who are also jury members or representatives from the member publications of the ICOTY. The drive route was planned to literally make it the automotive equivalent of a relay with one journalist taking over and completing the planned route right from where the previous journalist left it at. The journey covered a total of 7,280 km, crossing 125 cities enroute and spanned over seven days. Along this iconic drive, part of the plan was to also have Swift customers join the celebrations from five cities — Gurugram, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Indore. One of the other intents for the drive was to unite the two million Swift customers through on-ground activities and digital promos.

What is GPS Art?

Called GPS Art or GPS Drawing or Strava Art, this form of mixing driving, riding or biking across the landscape (or for that matter even water body or part of the sky) is fast becoming a hobby for many and a sort of self-expression. The process involved is pretty simple: Use a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, strap it on or use the maps feature in an embedded navigation system in the vehicle to then choose an intricate route that will effectively help virtually create a large-scale alphabet or image.

It is not always easy and often doesn’t result in a perfect rendering of the alphabet or image. And it can get tougher and pose a challenge where the existing road network is haphazard or unplanned. In well-planned cities, where the infrastructure was created largely in a grid pattern, with predictable distances between turns and crossings, the possibility of creating images that are an aggregation of straight lines and pixel-like cubes is high.

But, in some of the cities and semi-urban towns, rapid unplanned growth and expansion will make GPS art a challenge with over-curved roads and inconsistent distances between turns.

It would be a bit less challenging to attempt the same picture or alphabet in a zoomed-out format to even out the inconsistencies of the road infrastructure. Some of the practitioners of GPS Art do it over open ground to avoid these difficulties.

There are a number of GPS-based apps to help plan routes that will eventually help create the desired image or alphabet.

Published on March 07, 2019
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