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Apple unveils mobility data tool to help prevent spread of COVID-19

Apple unveils mobility data tool to help prevent spread of COVID-19
Apple released Tuesday a new mobility data trends tool to show changes in people driving, walking or using public transit amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photo courtesy of Apple                                  

April 14 (UPI) -- Apple on Tuesday unveiled a new mobility trends tool to aid COVID-19 prevention efforts like social distancing.

The tool shows "mobility trends for major cities and 63 countries or regions," the Apple statement said.

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It uses data from requests to Apple Maps for directions to compare changes in people driving, walking and using transit since measures to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic were put in place.

For example, in New York City, the tool shows a sharp decline in direction requests for these activities. Since Jan. 13, requests for directions for driving dropped 69 percent; walking, 80 percent; and transit, 89 percent, the tool shows. Furthermore, the graphic shows a sharp drop in such requests since March.

Apple aims to provide the data as a tool to help local governments and health authorities see if social distancing guidelines are being followed.

Earlier this month, Google launched a project that similarly tracks mobility data across the world.

The COVID-19 Community Mobility Report on the United States developed from Google Maps data on March 29 showed people going to grocery and pharmacy, transit stations and workplaces less frequently.

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