Tracking your movements has always been a tricky affair. At first there was Google Latitude that worked o.k. and it synced with Google services where you could download your data as KML files which could then easily be imported into Google Earth or Processing sketch. Google decided to kill Google Latitude and then there really weren’t many apps that track your location in the background. Most of them are aimed towards exercises, for example if you wanted to record a single run or similar, but none are designed to simply track your location throughout the day. Services like foursquare may allow you to check into places but do not record how you got from one place to the other. Moves on the other hand, available in the AppStore is a simple app for the iOS that tracks your location continuously, uses very little power and is designed to run in the background.
What may appear quite limited in the features Moves.app provides, the app is designed not to visualise data rather encourage developers to use their API to download and map data in the ways they like. Great news is that Nicholas Felton created a Processing application that utilises Moves.app API to collected this data including places, distances and gps coordinates and map it in a sketch.
The setup process is a little tricky but should be simple enough if you are even a little comfortable with terminal. It involves registering a client on the moves.app website, entering a pin code in the iphone app and getting your accessToken which you can paste inside the Processing code – you need to do the first part in 5 minutes (!!). From there you are good to go. When you start the app it will download all the data moves.app collected. You can browse dates and pan through times of the day. The app doesn’t yet update the data so for now you will need to wipe your data directory to download all your data again. Nicholas has a lot planned for the app including PDF export, better error handling, ability to pan and zoom map and more.
The moves.app is simple, lightweight and you don’t even need to open it until you want to sync the data with the servers. See also Quantid that not only integrates nicely with moves.app but it also allows you to plug into various other apps and serves to record data and compare. Likewise there are many other apps moves.app works with and you can see them all here.
If you’d like to learn more about how Nicholas Felton uses Processing, see this recent talk from the Eyeo Festival.
Posted on: 30/08/2013