Featured image of post A Mindful Walk Through Aggie Park: An Exploration of GPS Data

A Mindful Walk Through Aggie Park: An Exploration of GPS Data

A personal account of a mindful walk through Aggie Park, enriched by GPS data, vivid imagery and reflections on the surrounding world.


Hi, this piece of content exists for 2 primary reasons. Below are the explanations for them.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy!

GPS Data representation

In the last several months I have been considering what type of content I’d like to create.
One thing I had thought about was how to use the GPS data I got from an amazon sidewalk device I have for testing.
Its purpose is to test the sidewalk network connection strength for companies to be able to develop hardware utilizing it.

However, I found looking at the data after the fact to be a very interesting experience. The reason why it is interesting to me is due to how it collects location data.
The device pings for location and signal every 10 seconds. This long gap in polling gave me a clear picture of my speed when I review a day’s worth of data from my travels alongside my little sidewalk sidekick. The first day I tested I just happened to drive a car, ride a bike, and go for a walk.
The gaps between the GPS polls showed how fast I was moving in a very granular way.

I loved the idea of seeing how fast someone is moving via GPS polling. I thought it would be interesting to see if there was overlap in when I slowed down phsyically vs mentally. That’s what this article is based around, the story of my walking of a new place, with GPS data and images to go alongside it.
The GPS data is available for free on github so please feel free to look at it if you’d like.

Mindfulness and slowing down.

Writing is something that improves my personal health and well being yet it’s challenging to slow down from work and life to do it.
Over the last several weeks I’ve worked hard on engineering, branding, and long term planning styled tasks to get to the point where my website is online and my online presence has been created.
This has been great, but sometimes I tend to forget about my emotions. I think this is something we all do and it’s quite natural.

However, I struggle to function when operating primarily from a logic-centered mindset for long periods of time.
I have been dealing with an emotional backlog for a little while now due to this, and I knew I needed to reflect on my life, write about my emotions, and process whatever nonsense goes on up there that I ignore while being “productive”.

This experiment of writing was inspired by Fabian Tamp who I found while researching blogging themes.
They do a super interesting walking series, here is a recent example.
Thus, emotional backlog and engineering mind combined into what follows.
I hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to follow along my journey.

Let the walk begin!

9:05:01 - 30.607267, -96.3363

I’m heading towards Aggie Park on the Texas A & M Campus. It’s May 27th, Saturday morning, and students have recently left campus. I have come to this park a handful of times previously since moving to the College Station area at the beginning of 2023.

I’m getting ready to cross the street onto campus because I parked in a public place nearby. I wait until the crosswalk gives me my pedestrian right-of-way and subsequently go on my way. Ready to soak in the nature, buildings, and slowness of my morning.

9:06:40 - 30.607923, -96.337113

There was no one at the water fountain to my left. Traditionally there have been people gathering around it. I’m intrigued to see how it works. That’s what I enjoy doing about everything in the world.

It’s turned off and quiet at this point. I walk over, sit down on the side, touch the water with my hand. I thought “Wow, it’s really summer now, the water is warm.”. I took note and continued onwards.

I walk further down the sidewalk, across the street, and the ponds come into view. It’s the quietest I’ve ever seen this park, with only 1 other person in sight, and they were fishing.

I walk my way around the edge of the pond until I get to a place where I can kneel down and take a picture without bringing other people into it. I have anxiety sometimes and I know I would prefer someone to not be taking a picture of me. That’s why I didn’t take an overarching picture from the left side of the below one.

9:11:06 - 30.60912, -96.336576

Overview of the pond

Edge of the pond

9:13:07 - 30.609363, -96.33655

I glance to my right where some rocky pathways flow with water downwards. There is something about the sound of running water that brings an unbelievable amount of peace.

Funnlily enough, now that I’m writing this, I remember I was wearing earbuds with quiet music in the background. They were pixel buds with transparency mode on, so I likely still got the benefit of the water, but perhaps it was the visuals that really attracted my mind now that I think about it.

Flowing water

9:14:32 - 30.609324, -96.33655

I’m now climing all over the rocks. My mind is in full “how to capture what I see with a photograph”. I’m tiling my head left and right, looking up and down. Is art a science? Because my brain seems to think they’re similar.

I see a lone stone in the pond with a small amount of vegetation growing from the center of it. I ponder about what environments cause growth and how stones stand alone. Getting really philosphical for no reason internally; It’s one of my favorite internal states.

Solo stone

9:15:31 - 30.609315, -96.33655

I notice a cement circle used for drainage on the edge of the water. Civil engineers make some of the most fascinating decisions and I enjoy observing them.

One thing I’ve repeatedly seen such engineers place a suprising amount of attention to detail into are the nearby local parks(university or not) and how they handle water flow.

A walking trail close to where I live can handle an unbelievable amount of flooding before preventing folks from walking in it. When it does finally get to the point of preventing walking, it prevents all the nearby streets from having a drip of water in them. This large circular drain aligns with my previous observations, and I can’t help but capture it.

Circular Drain

9:15:52 - 30.609283, -96.336531

I sit for a moment, taking time to appreciate how beautiful the world around me is.

Personally, I’m a strong believer in micro dosing happiness. I’ve found one of the best ways to do that sustainably is to be present.

Here is my solo stone, flowing water, and a 5 second video I recorded and turned to audio so you can hear the water if you’d like to.

Looking back from the drain

From the park to the buildings

9:22:02 - 30.610054, -96.337478

I’ve walked around the edge of the pond. I soak in the greenery. I enjoy the colors of some flowers. I stop and capture them.

The bridge in the background peaked a lot of artistic interest yet I was unable to find a good angle while passing it. I didn’t linger on the desire to capture it for too long.

I moved on, knowing something else would capture my attention in just a short while.

Colororful flowers; Colorful world

9:27:10 - 30.610592, -96.337081

Quite a bit of construction was going on in the middle of the park. I passed by an intruging outdoor building but wasn’t able to capture it very well. It also had fascinating water drainage built into it’s design. I didn’t want to get hung up on engineering as I was focusing on mindfulness and I was unable to capture my level of fascination with a simple and circular water capturing device.

I continued on past this and around a building that acted almost like a seperator between sides of the park. The most beautiful thing happened as I walked further around it. 2 pathways through this structure connected the two sides of the park.

I was enthralled with how wonderful these openings framed the beauty of the other sides nature. I was excited to see recycling and colorful representation of sustainable trash options.

I wanted to capture an image of the other direction but I didn’t want to disturb a worker who was relaxing so I continued on with just the 1 angle.

A building can frame other worlds

9:33:27 - 30.612012, -96.33767

I pass by some seating areas and enjoyed the way they were designed. Not having the seating attached to the table itself? Not having tables tied to eachother? Not having seperators in the middle of benches?

It was a place of privilege that I had found myself. It made me feel strange to find so much joy out of seating benches that can be moved around. The idea of young minds gathering together in an open and inviting space. It’s something I never experienced but it’s something I’m super glad others are able to. I contemplate taking a picture, but I store my excitement for the future.

I’d like to stop back by these benches before I leave, and if I don’t capture the moment maybe I’ll be able to force my future self to want it more. Playing games with my own mind just to get what I want, it’s a common occurence.

I find the very edge of the park to have delightfully and gemoetrically aligned trees. I try to take a shot up close and don’t get the desired result. I dash across the street and walk up to where the building meets the grass to capture what I now know is the first of many gemoetric patterns left behind by the engineers here in the past. Is this foreshadowing? Are you foreshadowing Allison?

lines of trees, lines of minds

To be continued:

I spent the last five and a half hours live on twitch creating what you’ve seen thus far. It’s been wonderful and I hope to share more with you. However, in the spirit of MVP approach to releasing software, I’ll release this MVP of writing to you.

If you would like to provide feedback of the writing please do so in the comments or in any location on my links page.

If you would like to help me visualize my GPS data on github please feel free to check out it out.

Thank you so much for reading, have a wonderful day :)

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