You may have heard about the fuss recently over the iPhone apparently “tracking your whereabouts” and keeping a log of it. (In case you missed it, this is a good read). It’s all a load of bull, frankly. Anyone carrying any cell phone is tracked by the cell phone companies anyway, and I don’t even subscribe to the notion that the real problem wasn’t “big government”, but the ability for your spouse to look on your computer and find where you’ve been. If you’re that worried about it, all you really need to do is enable that little check-box “encrypt iPhone backup” in iTunes and all your logs were locked up automatically. Anyway, it’s all a moot point now, since the most recent iPhone update gets rid of functionality. Which is a shame, because frankly, it’s cool!

So I held off on the iPhone update, because I wanted to run this fantastic little tool called iPhone Tracker written by Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan that plotted the location trail on a map. Anyone following me on Twitter knows where I’ve been in the last year, so nothing new is about to be revealed here. I just think it’s very cool to see the map playing out in realtime. I do wish there was a bit more control, so I could slow it down, or have the map zoom in and out as the locations change, but whatever—it’s still cool. If you haven’t updated your iPhone past 4.3.2, you can still run it too. If you get the error that the file consolidated.db is missing, that’s because your backups are encrypted. Just disable encryption and sync again, and you’ll be able to get to it. You can always re-encrypt after.

Here’s my map…

I love it! Things that jump out at me…

  1. In the very very beginning (this starts June 2010, no idea why the database doesn’t go earlier), you see my trip to Hawaii.
  2. About five seconds in, you see a big trail across the United States—that’d be my cross country drive last year. Those photos are posted here.
  3. At seven seconds, you see my trip to Europe—Germany and Slovenia, with a layover in London.
  4. Eleven seconds in, November of last year, I went to Thailand. You can also see the layover in Hong Kong.
  5. Following that there’s the short trip to Madrid.
  6. For the next several seconds, you see my constant back and forth from east coast to west coast. What’s particularly cool is, throughout this whole thing, you see a dot showing up in the middle of the country. That’d be DFW, where I usually have a layover. Occasionally a ping shows up in Chicago. Same deal.
  7. At 17 seconds, you see a big cluster… South Carolina/Atlanta, DFW, LA area, Bay Area, Seattle and Chicago all at once. Big trip with lots of bounces and layovers.
  8. The trip to my grandfather’s 90th birthday party in Florida shows up around 19 seconds.
  9. Immediately after that starts the Vietnam trip, which again shows the layover in Tokyo. In the following second, you see a series of small dots up the length of Vietnam, as we traveled from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi!
  10. At 22 seconds, you see the trip to Canada I just got back from.
  11. Finally at the end, all the dots pile up on each-other.

What have I learned from this? That I certainly earned my exec plat status on American last year! ha… what a bunch of traveling. This is really cool, and frankly I’m disappointed that a) the capability is gone now because of paranoid cheating spouses and people who wear tin foil hats, and b) that this only went back a year.

OK, now I can upgrade my iPhone.