I live in Wellington

I’m spending a lot of time in Auckland, as we drive towards financing Pacific Fibre. However some have accused me of living in Auckland.
I present here evidence, straight from my iPhone, to the contrary. I clearly live in Wellington, spend time in Auckland and am quite disturbed about that purple Hamilton spot.

This is the map presented by the iPhoneTracker app for your mac, and it’s fantastic. It uploads from your iPhone data which has been stored, without us really realising it, and plots it on a map. While some will righteously complain about the privacy implications (and yes, this should be able to be switched off, and should be obvious that it is on), I see a lot of potential uses for this for individuals. How fun would it be to overlap maps of friends?

Interestingly though the dots are far apart. The dots scattered around the country are mostly from motorcycle trips, but much of the actual journeys is missing – due to lack of coverage perhaps, or due to low update frequency.

Here’s a zoomed in view of Wellington. My address is safe, as the data picks up the approxiamate cell tower location (I guess). That’s not very useful however, though it might allow folks concerned about the privacy issues, and people who are having affairs, express a  sigh of relief.

Here’s the Auckland map. It seems I get around a lot.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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10 Responses to I live in Wellington

  1. Scott says:

    I love how you can actually pick out SH1 and SH2 (almost SH3) below Taupo on the North Island.

  2. Wow lance. Great app.
    That’s some frequent flier account you’ve got going there.
    And a bit of a carbon footprint.
    Sure you’re planting trees aplenty…
    cheers
    Bernard

  3. Hi Lance, actually the stored data is highly accurate. The software you’re using to display the data deliberately puts the locations on a grid.

    From the site: “To make it less useful for snoops, the spatial and temporal accuracy of the data has been artificially reduced. You can only animate week-by-week even though the data is timed to the second, and if you zoom in you’ll see the points are constrained to a grid, so your exact location is not revealed. The underlying database has no such constraints, unfortunately.”

  4. The grid pattern had been artificially added by iPhoneTracker. According to the FAQ: “To make it less useful for snoops, the spatial and temporal accuracy of the data has been artificially reduced. You can only animate week-by-week even though the data is timed to the second, and if you zoom in you’ll see the points are constrained to a grid, so your exact location is not revealed. The underlying database has no such constraints, unfortunately.”

    • Lance Wiggs says:

      I see – thanks. I am actually happier that the real data exists, but also happy that the map program doesn’t dive in that far. Given the way it seems to be triangulating (not very well) I wonder whether the zoomed in data would be that useful anyway.

  5. And, clearly, Thomas, I should have refreshed before posting. Snap!

  6. Su Yin says:

    The grids are so pretty! Can’t wait to get my hands on the app

  7. @kiwibrew says:

    Hi Lance,

    Have you found any time/location aberrations?

    My map shows trips to New Plymouth and Nelson that did not happen in the stated year.

    Jon

  8. Josh says:

    Incidentally this app could make for a great alibi…

  9. Further research has now been completed into the location database on the iPhone.

    It now appears that the database is actually a cache of locations of cell-towers and wireless access points. This is used to help work out where you are when you use maps or other location apps. This means that the locations in the database are not an accurate measure of where the person has been.

    However, in some circumstances the location database can still be used an an indicator of the areas you have been in. (e.g. on March 21st you downloaded the APs/celltowers around Kawhia and therefore your phone was probably in that area)

    Apple have denied all wrong-doing but will be fixing the problem. Read more here: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/04/27location_qa.html

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