Pinpointing Location

Posted: April 8, 2014

Double Click

Say my boss wants proof of exactly what time I arrived at work last week. Once, it would have been nearly impossible to prove; however, given the modern technology used by Google, I can see right when I got to work that day.  

That includes the date, time — down to the second — and a map pinpointing exactly where I was. All that’s required is an Android phone with the location service “On” and logging into

Go ahead, give it a whirl.

Odds are, after checking, you fall into one of two camps. One generally has the attitude of, “That is cool, I like it!”  The other camp being, “This is an invasion of my privacy!  How can I stop it?”

I belong to the former group, as I live a relatively boring life and don’t particularly care that Google knows where I am at a given time. In fact, if I have the service running, I get much more accurate maps when traveling.  It also makes it easier for me to find less expensive gas, local movie prices and times, and so on.

Now, before too many feathers get ruffled, supposedly, the user is the only person who can view the information.

I say supposedly because of the following scenario: In the case of a criminal fleeing justice, I imagine a judge could grant a warrant for Google data and find whereabouts on the night of a given crime.  

For most people, that hypothetical does not apply. Unless maps are shared with others, they cannot see the location either; however, many third party apps do allow this using Location History.

How to turn the feature off and on varies by phone.  A standard process would be to go to “Setting,” “Location” (History, Services or something similar) and look for the on/off checkbox.  Then, set it.  

Keep in mind; this will not delete previous History.  To do so, go back to the Location History site and click “Delete all history.”  To stop it altogether, click on the Settings Gear in the upper right area of the screen, then click “History Settings” and set it to “Disable.”  

You may find it is quite interesting. It’s not perfect, but it is usually accurate.  I have noticed it will sometimes put a point on the map on a road near where I was and another where I really was. I imagine this happens when satellite signal is lost and regained quickly.

Several settings are available that you can play with on the site.  You can look at dates; you can click on a location and see an exact timestamp.  You can also expand “Show timestamps” to see dates and times with location points.

As with all Google Map data, you can show either the map view or the satellite view.

Contact Ron Doyle at

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