Mobility company tracking phones to see if people are following stay-at-home orders

A company is setting out to answer the question: Are the stay-at-home orders working?

It’s tracking our movement using our phones.

“With social distancing, shelter-in-place, stay-at-home orders, we really wanted to help create awareness around how these different policies are being adhered to,” said Thomas Walle, CEO and co-founder of Unacast.

Are we following the stay-home rules?

Human mobility data company Unacast is keeping tabs on us.

“The data source is GPS from cellphones to understand human mobility,” Walle said.

The company is grading states and counties based on movement.

Using GPS on our devices, Unacast is tracking how often people are leaving their homes where they are traveling to and if they are getting together in groups.

Florida as a whole, earning a C-, just below the national average.

How are Central Florida counties doing?

According to Unacast’s grading, Lake County scores the lowest at a D, Brevard next lowest with a D+, Seminole earning a C- and Volusia a C.

The highest scores locally, Osceola and Orange Counties both with C+ grades.

“It’s kind of average now in the U.S.,  I think what’s worth pointing out here is the number of visits to non-essential places. It’s actually graded an A, so Orange County is doing well in not visiting non-essential places,” Walle said.

Average distance traveled is also going down.

“So, what that means is that people are planning their weeks differently. Instead of taking a daily trip to the grocery store, they now might do it once a week,” Walle said.

The next part of the company’s research is comparing movement to infection numbers.

“That’s what’s going to be interesting to follow now, especially as some states are considering opening up again,” Walle said.

The company says it is only tracking phones with apps with GPS functions that you’ve opted into.

Check out Unacast's interactive map here.