Graffiti Markup Language

8 Jan

GML = Graffiti Markup Language from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

Awhile back my good friend @kapuaonalani send me a link to Evan Roth’s latest project, Graffiti Analysis.

Graffiti Analysis is an extensive ongoing study into the motion of graffiti. Custom software designed for graffiti writers creates visualizations of the often unseen motion involved in the creation of a tag. Motion data is recorded, analyzed and archived in a free and open database.

That last sentence is really the most interesting. A new format has been created to record and store the motion data. This new format is called Graffiti Markup Language (GML) and has so far been used for some other projects by Roth and his pals over at the Graffiti Research Lab. The largest repository of this data is at (that’s the hex code for “black”book). GML is the results of collaborative efforts between computer hackers and graffiti writers.

Graffiti writers are invited to capture and share their own tags, and computer programmers are invited to create new applications and visualizations of the resulting data. The project aims to bring together two seemingly disparate communities that share an interest hacking systems, whether found in code or in the city.

Graffiti Analysis iPhone App Screenshot
Graffiti Analysis iPhone App Screenshot
Graffiti Analysis iPhone App Screenshot

Developers can use GML to prove the visiualization data for their own tools. They can also capture their own data and share it with the rest of the community. So far some really cool applications have been made including EyeWriter, DustTag, L.A.S.E.R. and Graffiti Analysis. Each of the them capturing their movements from a different medium (eyes, finger, laser pointer and a marker, respectively).

Movements captured from my iPhone and uploaded to the Blackbook database.

GML captures x,y and time data and can be drawn using Javascript (HTML 5), Flash, Processing, C++ (OpenFrameworks). For more technical information and the API documentation, you can go here.

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