This article was published on June 13, 2010

How To Stalk Yourself Online With Location Services

How To Stalk Yourself Online With Location Services
Martin SFP Bryant
Story by

Martin SFP Bryant


Martin SFP Bryant is the founder of UK startup newsletter PreSeed Now and technology and media consultancy Big Revolution. He was previously Martin SFP Bryant is the founder of UK startup newsletter PreSeed Now and technology and media consultancy Big Revolution. He was previously Editor-in-Chief at TNW.

It’s all very well checking in to locations as you make your way around the world, but how do make sense of all those places you’ve been?

Luckily there’s a great selection of services on hand to transform your check-ins into interesting and fascinating data.

Google Latitude Location History

When it comes to turning your location data into useful information, Google really does meet the gold standard.

If you’re able to leave Latitude running in the background constantly, as Android users are, you’ll quickly build up a lot of fascinating information about yourself.

Latitude is very smart – it knows where you live and where you work based on the amount of time you spend in locations. It’s easy to find out how long you spend at home, working or having fun out and about. It logs the places you’ve recently visited, how many hours you work per week, the countries your visit and even knows when you’ve taken flights and where they departed from. You can even view your most recent locations laid out on a map.

If you don’t use Latitude continuously, you won’t get comprehensive results, still it’s a great way of finding out just how much Google knows about you. If you’re creeped out by just how much that is, it’s easy and quick to delete all the personal location data they have about you.

4Mapper for Foursquare

Unlike Latitude, Foursquare requires you to actively check in at locations you visit. 4Mapper plots all those places on a map. While the lack of ‘always on’ location tracking makes Foursquare less comprehensive than Latitude, its social aspect means you’re able to see which places you don’t mind telling others that you’ve visited.

Log in using your Foursquare account and the API will lay out your check-ins in a ‘heatmap’ style. It tracks the distance you’ve traveled and the number of check-ins you’ve made over the past year. It identifies you ‘new favourites’ as well as notifying you about places you haven’t visited in a while.

Want to share your location history? 4Mapper allows you to do that with its ‘Make it public’ option. It’s easy to revoke if you change your mind at a later date.

Track your tweets with Spiggler

If you like to tag your location to your Twitter activity, something supported by most major Twitter clients now, Spiggler will help you track the places you’ve tweeted from.

It’s an unreliable experience, but one that could be very useful if the developers manage to work out the kinks. After logging in to your Twitter account you can see your most recent geotagged tweets, as well as those the people you follow. The only problem right now is that you have to zoom quite far in to a location to view the tweets from that area. Even then, we found the results a little unreliable at times.

The future

Expect to see many more of these kinds of tools as the number of people sharing their locations increases. Have we missed a great visualization tool for your favourite location service? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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