Monday, December 22, 2014

How to get your own location history (KML analysis redux)

I REALIZED today that I left out one part of the KML analysis search challenge:  

     Where did I get the original file from??  

It turns out that if you have Location tracking turned on (see the earlier post about this), your Android phone updates your location history every few seconds... when it's turned on.    

To see your own history, you can go to: and you'll see something like this: 

This is my travels on the date of Nov 25, 2014.  The bar across the bottom is an interactive slider that you can move along the timeline to determine distance-from-starting-point.  You can see that around 6:30PM I started driving and arrived at our destination at 8PM.  

All I did to create the KML file we analyzed was to select "Show: 7 days" and then "Export to KML."  (See the options in the panel on the left.)  

That produces a master KML file that looks like this.  

You can see I started in Raleigh (at the Carolina Inn, if you wanted to zoom in on this map),  flew cross-country, and the rest you already know.  

As I mentioned, the data on 11/26 has a few artifacts that you need to clean out of the data for it to make sense.  Remember the very high rates of speed we saw in the data?  You can see it here as well: 

I assure you--nobody travels back and forth across Monterey Bay that quickly.  (See the spikes at 12:30PM?  I was actually sitting down in the cafe having lunch at time, not zooming at hyperspeed back and forth.)  

This visualization tool is pretty nice.  But--darn it--I wasn't able to find a way to import data into it.  It's really a tool for looking just at your own data.  

I've discovered that it's pretty handy to reconstruct where I've been a while back.  Don't remember what you did last Tuesday?  Look it up.    

Check out your own location history!  Learn anything about yourself? 

Search on! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Dr. Russell!

    I think you mentioned before, and this post explains with much more details. As you mention is pretty handy and helps to learn and understand things about oneself.