A San Francisco cyclist decided to get creative for his proposal to the love of his life. Rather than the usual get-down-on-one knee rigamarole, Strava user Murphy M. used the cycle-tracking app to map out a ride, titled “A proposal…“, in the Californian city to spell out his message.

Strava is one of many smartphone applications that uses mapping technology and GPS sensors in phones to track progress when hiking and cycling. Like its competitors – including Endomondo and Runkeeper – Strava lets users share their activities with their social contacts and publicly. The aim is to create a community of like-minded users who then share their experiences and can even use the apps to co-ordinate future events.

“Marry me Emily?”, enclosed in a heart, is more than a marriage proposal. It’s the route Murphy cycled through the steep hills and gridded neighbourhoods of San Francisco. Those who’ve been there know that it’s no small feat – the city is known for its punishing climbs. His hard work – 672kJ burned over 29km, an hour and twenty minutes, and a total elevation change of 418m – ended with a well-deserved acknowledgement from the Emily in question. She replied, “YES! I love you!” in the comments, where others then shared in the moment and offered congratulations.

Thanks to mobile applications, phones that have the correct sensors, and easy access to satellite mapping technology, these GPS-enabled artworks have seen increasing use over the last few years. Although, this being the internet, those who first expressed their creativity were probably not as mature.

There’s also a community over at GPS Art who puts a bit more effort into its creations. The blog hosts pictures of others escapades on the maps of the world, where they’ve walked, cycled, or driven routes to draw objects ranging from guitars to elephants.

Eleven years ago Christo started writing about technology for one of South Africa's (then) leading computer magazines. His first review? A Samsung LCD monitor. Hey, it was hot news, back then. Nowadays he gets more excited about photography, cars, game consoles, and faster internet connections. He's sort of an Apple fan, but will take any opportunity to remind you about his Windows-powered home theatre PC and desire to own a vanilla Android tablet.   Currently uses: Apple 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display, Apple iPhone 5, Microsoft Laser Mouse 6000, Audiofly AF78 Earphones, Xbox 360, Nikon D50.