Google Maps 6.0 for Android brings indoor localisation
November 30th, 2011 - 10:20 am ET by C. D.
With version 6.0 for Android, Google Maps has attempted indoor positioning – the next challenge of localisation.
Geo-location technologies have made a lot of progress over the last few years, optimising the reactivity of systems (precision, positioning time...) and opening the way for uses that are not just related to GPS movements in cars, but also pedestrians.
These new localisation types also allow for the emergence of LBS services (Location Based Services) and local information. While the essential of these evolutions is to provide GPS services when outdoors, the next step will be indoor positioning through the cross referencing of diverse information points (notably Wi-Fi access points) combined with smartphone monitoring information (accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer/altimeter) so that it is possible to determine a person’s position down to a building floor.
Google Maps before; Google Maps with detailed indoor plan
This is what version 6.0 of Google Maps for Android could provide, with this version now coming with an indoor positioning mode in certain public spaces (shopping centres, airports...).
Its activation allows for the display of a detailed map of the floor where the user is located so that they can be guided to their destination, with it being possible to zoom. A blue dot will indicate the users point to a few meters on the floor plan.
This function is for the moment only active in a few public locations in the United States and Japan, but since it is included as part of the standard Google Maps 6.0 release for Android it suggests that the service could be progressively be deployed in other countries.
The application can be freely downloaded from the Android Market portal.