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Google Maps Timeline is awesome

Posted on June 10, 2023

If there’s one thing I’m a data nerd about it’s anything to do with maps and location. I can sit down and get cozy with an atlas just like others might read a novel. My favorite summer job during my college years was an internship at DeLorme Publishing Company, which is famous for its road atlases, and happens to be in my home state of Maine.

One thing I particularly love is the Google Maps location history feature called ‘Timeline.’ I’ve been happily handing Google my realtime location data since 2010. While some may find that horrifying, I get deep satisfaction from the fact that I can go back and relive any day for most of my adult life. This has even helped me recover lost items.

In 2018, Google started emailing me year-end summaries of my location timeline. Here is the image from every one of those emails they’ve sent me so far:


2023 marked a shift towards spending more time at home to maximize productivity and health. Travel is fun but it has also become more expensive and too focused on meaningless consumption. By traveling less often, big trips become more meaningful and personally significant. For me the Big Trip of this year was about a week and a half spent in Kyrgystan visiting a friend. Beyond that, there were some short trips to Delhi, Penang, and Hong Kong.



I spent the first half of this year hopping around South America, since I didn’t want to be in the US during the winter, and I still couldn’t go back to Vietnam. The highlight of this year by far were two months spent in Chile with a close friend. By late June, I was back in Vietnam.



2021 was a rough year. Things started out great as Vietnam was still in its golden period of the pandemic where there were no significant case numbers, until May rolled around and restrictions became increasingly Draconian. Finally by July, I was left with no option but to return to the US. After 4 months I set out again, but unable to return to Vietnam I went to Puerto Rico and then celebrated the new year alone in Medellin.



This was the year when international travel was most restricted by Covid, but life in Vietnam carried on as normal. Oddly this map doesn’t show a trip to Taiwan I made in March 2020. Other than that the entire year was spent traveling around Vietnam, where I stayed continuously for 17 months during the pandemic.



Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, and a trip home to the US.



Sean’s wedding in Oregon. Traveling in Japan with Sam. Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia. Still in the “recently moved to Asia” honeymoon period.