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.


  1. I found this article about the iPhone location data question interesting:

    (Spotted on twitter via a RT of @scobelizer and others)

    It sounds to me that there’s some security problem about the data files being too easy to access, but that Apple itself if not retrieving and using or even looking at the data.

    That said, it’s surely interesting for you yourself to see where you’ve been — even though you knew you were there.


  2. I can hear Juan all the way from Columbus, (cue scary music) “The men in the black helicopters will know where to look when they come for your liberty.”


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