View Your iPhone Location History and Donate it to Science with OpenPaths

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A few weeks ago data researchers discovered a file on the iPhone that stores timestamped coordinates of the phone's location, effectively tracking your every move. In addition, the file was downloaded to iTunes every time a sync was performed. Apple dismissed it at first, but after the issue grew in notoriety the company finally addressed it in iOS 4.3.3, which stops the phone from storing locations when the location services are turned off and stops it from downloading to iTunes. Now a project known as openpaths wants your data.


Initiated by the New York Times' R&D Lab, openpaths is a database of user-contributed location files. Researchers believe that they can use donated data to better understand a variety of problems including traffic flow, disaster preparedness, urban planning and epidemics, among others. Aside from your data being used to solve real problems, once you've downloaded the openpaths uploader you can visualize your own data - trace your steps over the past year. In addition, openpaths lets you convert your data to other formats such as CSV or JSON for easy use in your own projects.

As for security, you upload anonymously and the user profile database is separate from the location file db. Also you can always remove your data. If you have already upgraded to iOS 4.3.3 openpaths' software can search Time Machine and find the file in your backups.

[via openpaths and engadget]