Elliot Jay Stocks is a designer, speaker, and author. He is the Creative Director of Adobe Typekit, the founder of typography magazine 8 Faces, one half of Viewport Industries, and an electronic musician.

Tracked

Posted on 06 May 2011 Comments

Article illustration for Tracked

Whilst the majority of the iPhone-using world freaked out over ‘Locationgate’ and got unnecessarily scared about all that not-particularly-important tracking data that was being stored on — shock horror! — our own machines, many of us recognised it for what it really was: a great way to reflect on our recent travels. As Mr. Joe said:

Privacy issues not withstanding, I found the fact that my phone tracked my location not to be creepy but actually rather interesting.

~ Joe Leech

So, when Apple released yesterday’s iOS update to eliminate the ‘problem’, I intentionally held off from updating until I’d had a proper play with the iPhone Tracker app. The result was as interesting as I’d hoped: I could instantly see my last year’s worth of travels plotted out on a map (even if that data is slightly inaccurate), and I got a very visual reminder of the trips I’ve been on since late June last year, when I got the iPhone 4.

In the interest of posterity, I’ve uploaded a few screenshots to Flickr.

I can see my last trip to Norway, where I spoke at FrontEnd in Oslo and then took a wonderful seven hour train ride to Trondheim. I can see our trip to Whitby, where I proposed to Sam. I can see my trip to Brooklyn, where I had the best conference experience ever in the shape of Brooklyn Beta. I can see our trip to Machelen for Tim’s wedding just before Christmas. I can see the huge amount of time spent seeing friends and family in London and Shropshire.

It’s a shame this data is about to be wiped. Mapping individuals’ geographic data and relating it to unique, personal events — thus creating a location-aware visual history — is exactly why Mapalong is going to be so fantastic.

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