Apple releases data from Maps, Brazil included, to help authorities in fighting COVID-19

Apple releases data from Maps, Brazil included, to help authorities in fighting COVID-19

In a time of global pandemic, it is up to everyone – individual, company, government – to do their part to mitigate the effects of the crisis and help experts to combat its source. Apple, for its part, has contributed satisfactorily to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19), whether by joining Google to use their devices as ways of tracking the disease, launching a website and app with information and research on patients, or making large donations to food funds and specialized institutions.

Today, Apple has taken another step forward in its journey to combat the crisis: the company has released mobility data collected by your Maps in the last few months in various countries and cities around the world. The idea is that the information will help experts and authorities to analyze trends in social movement in their locations, helping to think of new ways to deal with the problem – and therefore to combat the rapid spread of the virus.

The data was made available, open and free of charge, on a new page on Apple’s official website, called “Mobility Trends Reports” (“Mobility Trend Reports”). On the page itself, it is possible to search for locations (cities or countries) served by Apple Maps to see a simplified graph, showing the route orders made in the service since last January to the present day.

Apple divides the data into routes on foot, by car or via public transport – the latter, of course, only available in locations where your Maps already have this tool. In all cases, it is possible to see how these mobility records dropped significantly between March and April: in the Brazil, for example, driving directions have dropped 64%, while walks fell 75% and public transport travel plummeted 84%.

In addition to the data available dynamically, it is possible to download a CSV document, updated daily, with all the data collected by Apple in the last few months and including the daily changes in route orders in all locations served by Maps. The company notes that all data is anonymous, associated with random identifiers that do not link users to orders.

Tim Cook commented the news on Twitter:

While protecting your privacy, we have started to share aggregate mobility data from Apple Maps to help public health officials understand how people get around in their communities and to provide valuable data in combating the spread of COVID-19. Stay safe and healthy!

Naturally, the data cannot be confused with homogeneous samples of the population, collected by authorities and specialized institutes – especially in countries like Brazil, where Apple products serve only a very small portion of the people, the information provided by it will only reflect the trends of that layer of society.

Still, the Apple initiative could already be a start to help authorities think of new ways to deal with the problem. Will take.