To anyone who knows me even a little, this map shouldn’t be a surprise.
This shows where me and my iPhone have been since August, when I upgraded to whatever version of Apple’s iOS started tracking users whereabouts.
We got all excited yesterday when a couple of data scientists released a nifty little app yesterday that digs up the data from iPhones and iPads and displays the information on a map. Take a look at mine. It picks up with our little trip to Kelleys Island late last summer; it’s pretty obvious that football season — and the subsequent trips to Columbus — is included; there are stops in Youngstown (Vintage Estates) and Butler (haircuts, Gorillo’s and Natili north); and plenty of time in and around Pittsburgh.
(Also noticeable — our Groundhog weekend trip to Mohican State Park is absent from the map, because once we got past Steubenville, I turned off the iPhone in favor of the Droid. Hey, AT&T — can you hear me now?)
Yes, I am concerned that Apple has been collecting this data without my permission. Wired references a letter prepared by Apple last summer that explains why it needs location information (improving its location-based services, primarily); the same letter, however, seems to promise that the data wouldn’t be stored anywhere — and that is definitely not the case.
But take another look at that map. Is anyone shocked that I spent time in Columbus and northern Ohio in the last few months? Also, I tend to talk about my travels incessantly, in real time on my Twitter account (which is public) and usually after the fact here.
(Yes, I’m a little more careful with other platforms. Only actual friends get to see my Foursquare account and while I’m pretty comfortable with Facebook’s unnecessarily complex privacy settings, I avoid all of its location-based stuff on the chance that I’m missing something there…)
People are upset about this, and I understand why. But I can’t logically claim to be upset that information about my travels is available on my phone because I make it available so many other places. And even if I didn’t, I think I’m probably predictable enough that you guys could figure it out anyway.