Luka Frelih (SI) Frida V. - Free Ride Data Aquisition Vehicle (aka Free Data Vehicle)

Bicycle for open source mapping, 2004

The geographic information databases of today are closed. Although in many cases developed with public funds, they remain out of reach of citizens and small organizations, preventing all kinds of new layers of activity that could be built upon them to emerge. But we are taking this problem into our hands - collecting and publishing freely licensed data and creating maps in communities like Open Street Map. The solution: design free tools for free geodata communities, to make open source mapping easier, faster and also more fun!

Frida V. is a rugged and comfortable bicycle equipped for efficient exploration and mapping of public urban spaces. It carries a small computer, GPS positioning device, 802.11 wireless network transciever and a basic audiovisual recording unit. The software and hardware enables automated mapping of wireless computer networks and the bike's path, easy recording of location-tagged media and opportunistic synchronization with a server on the internet. In other words, let the warriding, streetmapping and rideblogging begin!

The hardware and free software used and developed for the project are documented on the project website, with source and schematics for the new components. People wishing to replicate the design can also get further assistance from the authors. The control panel is a simple set of switches and lights and connects to the computer parallel port in the first Frida V. implementation.

Work is under way to design a second generation system around a Linux based wireless router with USB and Ethernet peripherals, including an Arduino microcontroller. This will make it lighter and reduce power consumption, as well as allow connecting of additional sensors to map various other aspects of our environment.

Luka Frelih (SI)

Luka Frelih, born in 1974, is an artist working with computers and networks, a computer programmer, free software hacker and web designer. He is a core member of Ljudmila - Ljubljana Digital Media Lab since its founding in 1994.

Since 1994, he has produced many projects connecting technology and art: with Marko Peljhan, Vuk Ćosić, Cornelia Sollfrank and more. Member of Makrolab, ASCII Art Ensemble and pioneering net.art community projects: 7-11, Refresh, Remote-C. Programmed the instant ascii camera, a net art generator and more than one web map interface for positioned radio-linked roaming agents.

Together with other Ljudmila programmers he developed the SLIX Linux distribution and diverse free software tools to publish and manage multimedia databases on the web. Now trying to apply the principles of free software and digital gift economy to other creative fields, he is a member of Creative Commons Slovenija and interested in open databases, personal media and free hardware.