Does editing your timeline change anything about the raw data?

I am mainly interested in using Arc as a replacement for my Location History Takeout downloads from Google since they seem to be getting rid of that. I don’t really care about what shows up on my timeline, only really about the raw data. Does editing my timeline change the GPX data at all? And I mean just the quantity and location of points, not necessarily the other fields.

Hi @LaCienegaBlvd!

Editing your timeline doesn’t change any of the raw recorded data, for example coordinates, altitude, accelerometer data, etc.

When you edit your timeline data, typically you are setting/changing the confirmedType of recorded samples (eg setting it to walking, car, train, etc), and also changing which samples are grouped into which TimelineItems.

Each Visit or Trip on the timeline is a TimelineItem, and each contains a contiguous set of LocomotionSamples (one per recorded coordinate). As you edit your timeline, you might be splitting/joining/deleting timeline items, which results in those samples getting shuffled around. But samples are never deleted, only reassigned.

That editing can therefore change the shape of GPX exports, in that GPX exports contain track segments and waypoints, with track segments matching to Trip items in Arc’s timeline, and waypoints matching to Visit items in Arc’s timeline. So the exported GPX file can be different depending on your edits, in that sense.

One thing to watch out for if you’re exporting to GPX, is GPX waypoint objects only contain a single coordinate. Where as Arc Visit items contain as many coordinates as were recorded during that stationary period. So Arc Visits contain much more detail than GPX waypoints (the GPX waypoint’s coordinate will be the weighted centre of the Arc Visit).

So that is one way in which editing the timeline can increase or reduce the amount of detail in a GPX export. If samples are moved from an Arc Trip item into a Visit item, or visa versa, there will be more or less detail in the GPX. However presumably your timeline editing would be done in order to increase the correctness, so the resulting GPX should still be more “correct” in the end anyway.

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