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Google offers free map data to track COVID-19 mobility trends

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Google is creating free weekly community mobility reports using anonymised Google Maps data to help inform COVID-19 policy.

The UK Government has even started using the data to support its daily coronavirus briefing sessions.

A statement from the tech-giant said: “As global communities respond to COVID-19, we've heard from public health officials that the same type of aggregated, anonymized insights we use in products such as Google Maps could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19."

The Community Mobility Reports aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19.

The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.

The most recent UK report was posted on March 29 and shows key trends like a 75% reduction across the UK in movements at places like public transport hubs such as metro, bus, and train stations.

The weekly reports will show how visits and length of stay at different places change compared to a baseline. Google has calculated these changes using the same kind of aggregated and anonymized data it uses to show popular times for places in Google Maps.

The report also offers a breakdown region across the UK. 

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