Personal location tracking

Personal location during quarantine

The image above shows the historical location of my cellphone during the last few months, with data starting from about half may.

I recently got the idea to start tracking my own location, just for fun. It turned out to be rather easy, since I already owned a very capable tracking device (i.e. my cellphone), which I tend to take with me wherever I go. The only thing I had to do was to install the OwnTracks app on my phone, and set up a endpoint (plus a database) on my server for receiving the data from the app over HTTP.

The OwnTracks app tracks latitude, longitude, height, velocity (sometimes), time, accuracy, and vertical accuracy. I assume the data is based on GPS and Wifi connections, although I'm not exactly sure since it is not the app that gathers this data, but the operating system of the phone itself. Based on the data I have gathered so far the location points vary in accuracy, with the most accurate points being 5m in size and the least accurate points being about a kilometer in size. While accuracy could be better, it is good enough for what I need.

The data is collected based on significant movement, meaning that after the cell phone travels about 500m in 5 minutes it will publish a location update. Otherwise it will not publish any data, even if I remain in the same location for hours on end. There is also the option the publish location every x minutes, but that would drain the battery too quickly.

So far I haven't really found a good use for this data, except for making pretty pictures. And it may be fun to go through later on in my life.