Apple is now sharing aggregated mobility data from Apple Maps to help public health officials better understand changes in how people are moving in their communities, the company announced today. The data is accessible via an online tool, and Apple is making the complete dataset available for download as a CSV. The tool is similar to ones offered by Google and Facebook that show mobility trends using location data taken from smartphones.
Apple’s new website has mobility trends for “major cities and 63 countries or regions,” according to the company. “The information is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions,” Apple said in its press release. “The data sets are then compared to reflect a change in volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit around the world.”
Apple says it protects user privacy in Maps by not associating mobility data with a user’s Apple ID and by not keeping a history of a user’s location.
The new website joins other efforts from Apple to aid the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including partnering with Google to build a contract-tracing system, making a COVID-19 screening tool, and designing and shipping face shields for medical workers. The company says it has sourced and donated “well over 20 million” face masks to date.