Mapping Software

sonic-bikes mapper software

The current sonic bike uses the sonic-bikes mapper software, a development of sonicmappergizmo software.

This is an online mapping tool and user interface between locations and the sonic bikes, enabling the artist behind that project to draw precise zones of any size, attaching a sound file with specific playback requirements to each one. When a sonic bike is ridden into that zone, that sound file will play. This sound map is the score.

Sample parameters can be added to each zone to control how the sound plays (more below) and this version of the mapper tool allows multiple users to make sonic bike maps, at the same time, rather that just one map (more below).

This version of the mapper made was made by Francesca Sargent in 2015. It builds on the old sonicmappergizmo mapping tool that was initiated by Peter Edwards with Kaffe Matthews for The Marvelo Project in 2008 , who developed it for The swamp that was… in 2012. sonicmappergizmo was then redesigned for Opera fiXi in 2013 by Dave Griffiths and used for further projects until 2015 when Francesca created the new mapper tool sonic-bikes mapper to enable multiple compositions to be made for the same area at the same time.


The mapping tool showing the different zones drawn.

Details about the old mapping tool are available here.

Sample Parameters

The normal action when a bike enters a zone is to start playing the sample associated with it. The sample is stopped when it either a) it runs out or b) the cyclist leaves the zone. On leaving the zone, the sample is faded out gradually.

The following parameters, which can be used in combination, will change this behaviour creating further compositional possibilities.


This parameter causes the sample to loop, until the cyclist leaves the zone.

One shot

This causes the sound to play all the way through, regardless of where the cyclist is. This is also useful for areas where GPS signal is noisy.

Loop and One Shot cannot be used together, or the sound will play forever...


A ghost zone contains two polygons which are slowly blended between over time. This has the effect of sounds moving around the space. This parameter was created for The swamp that was... in 2012 by Dave and Kaffe so as to plot sounds that would eerily travel from one point another, only heard when the bike rode through the sound ghost itself – ideal for this project that was listening to sounds of the past.


This parameter controls when the sound is played according to the direction that the bike is being ridden - north, south, east, west. Created for Opera fiXi in 2013 by Kaffe and Dave , a riverside cycling route that needed a sound journey heard when riding up the river and a different one for riding down the river.

Pitch Change

The pitch of the track will be changed, wobbling the sound of the track up and down dependant on the direction ridden. Tom and Kaffe added this parameters for Finding Song Home in 2015.

Random Folders

Instead of assigning one track to a zone, the Random Folder lets you assign a whole folder of tracks to a zone - these will be selected at random and played when the zone is activated. This means that each time the cyclist rides through this zone they will hear a different sound. Tom and Kaffe added this parameters for Finding Song Home in 2015 and it is an ideal compositional tool for for small spaces like the square in The Coventry Pedalling Games 2015.

Multi Mapper function

sonic-bikes mapper enables independent and multiple compositions to be mapped for the same area at the same time. No longer simply a live system for one map, multiple users can save, edit and upload their maps now. This was created for The Summer Pedalling Games in 2015 so that we could welcome 9 new artists to create 9 separate sound works in the same park.


Updating the map tool for a new map requires fiddling about with the php - this is so we filter out zones and can keep all globally stored on the one map, needs GUI foo:

1. Get the id of the new parent zone for the current performance from here (ask dave for an account!):

2. Add the title of the parent zone to the list here, in order to tell it where to pick up the colours from: application/helpers/map.php Search for "dave hack":

3. Filter only current map zones by replacing existing id here: application/helpers/reports.php Search for "dave hack":

4. Fix this sillyness! :)