Open Paths – A Little Preview

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Open Paths – A Little Preview

Aha I bet you were expecting something political! The political posts are being written, slowly but surely! But OpenPaths is worth a look see. Read about this application ‘OpenPaths’ on the New York Times .  The application is also made by the R&D lab at the New York Times. It’s a project to collect and aggregate your location. Making it ‘fun’ and also giving you control of the data. OpenPath’s own philosophy is that many corporations are both openly and privately collecting data on you. They want to give you some control of that data – and they won’t share data without your expressed consent.

I wanted to give it a go – and unsurprisingly it’s quite accurate. You can set how often it updates your location (My own is set to every 10 minutes) as well as how accurate it is down to a few metres.

OpenPaths - Click to expand
OpenPaths – Click to expand

As you can see, My life consists of three/four locations – Holywood, Belfast, Carryduff and Saintfield! These updates were tracked over a two week period – with the different coloured tags signifying different times of the day. With the darkest spots being the evening…Apparently I spend a lot of time in Belfast at night!

While there isn’t much of a use for OpenPath, other than your own interest – although you could install it on someone’s phone and freak them out if you really wanted to – The potential is there for something more! It also gives you an available CSV / Excel file with all your locations and dates down to the exact longitude and latitude. Sort of scary when you think about it – but I’m positive other companies out there are collecting more sensitive information.

For around two weeks tracking, I can tell my life is incredibly monotonous at the moment! Must go on a holiday and spice things up a bit! Honestly give it a go – it’s a cool and interesting experiment to see where you go! I haven’t found any other uses for it yet other than a futile exercise! But I’m always open to thoughts if anyone can think of anything else to do with it.

Interestingly its tracking is far more capable and accurate than Googles own ‘Now’ and activity reporter. A somewhat surprising conclusion seeing as Google are the information overlords of us all and for once I can see a product performing much better than a Google product.

Originally I came across it on NYT about a super geek who developed music using geo-locational data! It’s quite amazing! It’s called the ‘Quotidian’ Project and you can check out the musical masterpiece here: http://www.geeked.info/tag/openpaths/

If your interested in giving OpenPaths a go check out http://openpaths.cc  or alternatively you can download it on the Android or Apple Stores!

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