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Apple releases mobility data to show if people are social distancing

Apple announced on Tuesday that it is releasing mobility data gathered by Apple Maps as part of the company’s ongoing effort to help control the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. On the Mobility Trends Reports page, users can input one of 63 major countries or a city (say, Seattle) and see a line graph indicating changes in walking, driving, and transit over time.

Apple Mobility Trends data for Seattle

If you want to pore over digital reams of data, you can also download a CSV file listing the walking, driving, and transit numbers for every city in the project on every day since January 13.

“The information is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions,” Apple said. “The datasets are then compared to reflect a change in volume of people driving, walking, or taking public transit around the world.”

For those worried about privacy, Apple said that “maps does not associate mobility data with a user’s Apple ID, and Apple does not keep a history of where a user has been … Data that is sent from users’ devices to the Maps service is associated with random, rotating identifiers so Apple doesn’t have a profile of your movements and searches.”

For the latest updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 page.

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