Apple Maps Dublin driving route requests down 80%
Apple using mobility data to assist public health authorities
The data does not show individual users or their location, and is aggregated to prevent users being identified. Photograph: AFP via Getty
Apple Maps data shows an 80 per cent decline in driving and walking route requests in Dublin compared with mid-January, with transit requests 92 per cent lower. In the State as a whole, the data shows a 75 per cent drop in driving route requests and a 74 per cent fall in walking requests. Transit requests were down by 89 per cent.
Apple is using mobility data generated by its Maps users to help public health authorities ascertain if measures introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus are affecting travel.
The tech company said the data was gathered through the number of routing requests made with Apple Maps, and comparing it with past usage to detect changes in the volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit around the world. The data is being updated daily.
The data does not show individual users or their location, and is aggregated to prevent users being identified.
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Apple has compiled the data on a dedicated site – www.apple.com/covid19/mobility – and includes major cities and 63 countries or regions.
Google last week released data that showed a significant decline across the board in people attending public places in the Republic. The reports use the same data that is used to determine the busiest periods for businesses on Google’s search listings. The information is gathered from users of Google Maps who have their location history turned on and have opted to share it with the company. The data is anonymised, and covers areas such as retail, recreation, groceries, pharmacies, parks, transit (transport) stations, workplaces and residential.
Apple’s data is more limited than the information Google has released.
The company said 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.
Despite their different approaches to mobility data, Apple and Google are teaming up to work on contact tracing technology to help fight the global coronavirus pandemic. The partnership will see bluetooth technology used to alert someone if they have been in contact with a person carrying Covid-19.