Apple has launched a new tool from Apple Maps, which provides data regarding the movement of people in major cities and countries around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The mobility data shows the change in the volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit in various cities or regions around the world. It will show if people are adhering to social distancing guidelines or are moving freely despite the restrictions imposed by governments in different countries.
The new tool indicates mobility trends for major cities and 63 countries or regions. The data can be used by local governments as well as health authorities to formulate new public policies as they try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
According to Apple, the tool gathers anonymous data, as Apples Maps does not tie mobility data with a user’s Apple ID. The tech giant said it does not keep a history of a user’s movements.
Apple claims the information is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions. Data availability in a particular city, country, or region is dependent on several factors, including minimum thresholds for direction requests made per day.
As part of its efforts to help fight the spread of COVID-19, Apple has donated more than 20 million face masks for medical professionals.
In addition, Apple has assisted Stanford Medicine in building a new app for first responders to help screen their symptoms and schedule a testing appointment if required.
The company has also made recent updates to Apple apps and services to help customers quickly find the information they need about the pandemic by using Siri and Apple Maps.
Grocery, food delivery and medical services are prioritized when people use Apple Maps to search nearby places, while a curated collection of telehealth apps are available on the App Store.
Last week, Facebook said its ‘Data for Good’ program is developing Disease Prevention Maps that provide details on how population movements around regions are influencing the spread of the disease.
The maps, which use anonymized location data from users, are now being used by researchers and non-profits to help determine where COVID-19 is likely to spread.
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