9 Artists Working with Google Maps as Their Medium

Not only does Google Maps, Earth and Street View provide a wealth of information for navigating the world, but it’s also becoming a medium for artists everywhere. From using the grid of streets on Maps, to the weird distortions in satellite imagery on Earth, or the way people are captured from Google’s Street View cars, these artists are transforming Googles information into introspective art.

Let’s look at 9 great examples.

1) Shaun Utter – Random Google Maps

Boston-based coder Shaun Utter has created a website that generates random Google Maps images. A constant stream of abstract art is created when each location is assigned random colors and zoom settings. Beautiful.

Shaun Utter

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2) Jenny Odell – Satellite Landscapes

Jenny Odell trims away everything piece of land surrounding mammoth devices that serve humanity. From sewage ponds to airports, her work shows the beauty and impact of large structures stripped of their place in the world.

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3) Paolo Cirio – Street Ghosts

Google blurs the identity of anyone captured on Street View, leaving a world eerily populated by faceless figures. Paulo Cirio is cutting those figures out, then returning them to the same location in his odd paste-ups.

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4) Clement Valla – Postcards from Google Earth

Exploring connections between digital systems and art, Clement Valla has captured the distortion created by Google Earth’s 3D terrain software, revealing bridges that look as if they have bent under great weight, heat or the brush of Salvador Dali.

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5) Bartholomäus Traubeck – Lux Repeat “Avoiding You” Music Video

This unsettling video uses high altitude Google Earth imagery as a time-lapse journey across the glitch filled landscape. Centered on graphical icons and scored by equally glitchy music, this is a strange ride.

6) Florian Freier – Cached Landscapes

Florian Freier tiled landscapes are a commentary on the surveillance state. Ironically he didn’t capture any of the images, but instead pulled from a subfolder on his computer holding a thumbnail cache of every web page he visits. Sometimes while you’re spying, others are spying on you.



7) Christian Lonsdale – Digital Paintings from Google Maps

Some artists travel the world to find scenes to paint, Christian Lonsdale takes a different approach. He uses scenes from Google Street View to digitally paint exotic places–many he’s never visited.


8) Shystone – Classic Paintings on Google Street View

A Redditor going by Shystone has been finding classic paintings of London, then locating the location today on Street View. Juxtaposing the two together we get a fascinating look on just how much, or how little, the city has changed.



9) David Hanaurer – WorldWide Carpets

If you’ve ever wanted to experience being a giant, David Hanaurer’s carpets get you pretty close. He uses Google satellite imagery, rearranging it into kaleidoscopic patterns and printing it onto incredible carpets. Up close they’re clearly maps, but far away they become only geometric patterns.



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