Not recognizing stops as places

I’ve used Gyroscope places for the past couple of months and was recently introduced to Arc. I’m noticing that Arc isn’t recognizing important places when they are short visits. For example, when I drop off or pick up my son from daycare, I’m only there for a couple of minutes but it’s a place that I want to show up on my timeline. Gyroscope has no problem identifying that I’m at daycare for 3-5 minutes and including it on the timeline. For about a week now I’ve been manually editing Arc to add the place, but it still hasn’t caught on and requires manual intervention. Is this something that may just take longer for the app to figure out without manual intervention or is my use case not aligned with the app? Thanks!

Looks like tonight is the first time it worked!

Hi @bls0n!

Arc will recognise visits as short as 2 minutes, and keep them in the timeline. For stops shorter than that, they will get merged into the surrounding items. For example if there is a sequence “car → brief stop (1 minute) → car” then it will get merged together into one continuous “car” item.

However you can tap into the details view of that timeline item, then tap Edit → Edit Individual Segments, and you should be able to see the brief stationary segment in the list there (or on the map). You can then tap on that segment and manually assign a Place to it, which will cause it to be added to the timeline as a separate Visit, even though it’s shorter than the 2 minute limit.

Another thing that can happen, which is likely different from Gyroscope, is Arc aims for much more detailed timelines than other timeline recording apps, in that instead of grouping several smaller stops into one visits, it will aim to show the separate visits to each shop on the timeline. So for example if you go to a mall, other apps might show one visit for “The Mall”, while Arc might instead show separate visits for cafe, pharmacy, book shop, parking area, etc, that you visited inside the mall.

So for picking up your son from daycare, Arc might be seeing a brief stop in the carpark, a walk inside, a brief stop inside the daycare, then brief stop in the carpark. If none of those meets the 2 minute threshold, they might not automatically appear in the main timeline and instead get merged into the surrounding car trip, for example.

In those cases you can force the timeline structure you want by going into the “Edit Individual Segments” view. I often do this for my own timelines, to split out things like “Condo Bicycle Parking” when I get home, so that my timeline shows “cycling > Bicycle Parking → walking → Home” instead of merging it all into “cycling → home”. Though that does come down to personal preferences - you can let Arc settle into whatever fits its thresholds automatically, or manually fiddle it to fit exactly how you want it (as I do). And Arc will also learn from those edits and try to replicate them automatically in future to some degree too.

There’s one more manual cleanup thing you can do to get the timeline looking exactly as you want. From the “Individual Segments” view, you can also split segments, for cases where Arc’s ML (machine learning) didn’t get the activity type change overs exactly as you want. For example if I’m cycling, then quickly park the bike and walk into a shop, the ML might miss the point where I stopped cycling and started walking, and instead put it together all as cycling. So I would tap on the cycling segment, then “Split Segment”, and split it cycling/walking at the point where I know the changeover happened. Perhaps a bit excessive perfectionism, but sometimes it’s useful when Arc really did make a big dumb mistake, or just when you really want the data to be exactly right.

Also those perfectionist cleanups do all help to train the ML models, so that Arc will be more likely to classify it how you like it next time.