There’s a bunch of location tracking apps now, all of which basically collect where you are all the time in a casual way. The key thing is that they only sample location occasionally, to save battery life.
I did a 15 minute drive in San Francisco today, then a 40 minute walk home. About 2.5 miles each way. I was running four of these tracking apps at once on my iPhone, to compare how much data they logged.
- Google Latitude: 12 points
- Geoloqi (Battery saver mode): 4 points
- OpenPaths: 6 points
They all sampled roughly the same amount of data, although the extra resolution from Latitude makes a big difference in the final picture. None of them captured any points at all when I was driving. I’d hoped these apps would realize I was moving quickly and start sampling more frequently but, well, no.
I wonder if there’s a direct correlation between sampling rate and battery consumption. Google Latitude does use more battery than Geoloqi, but I’m not sure how much more. Haven’t really tried OpenPaths yet.
Here’s screenshots of the maps each tracker generated, along with a detailed track from iSmoothRun.