While Apple’s latest iOS Maps offering is languishing with precision errors, messed up aerial images and a general disdain among the mobile community, Google is continuing to innovate and improve on its own Maps application. The latest update: 10,000 new indoor locations for your desktop viewing pleasure.
Google Maps has updated its desktop offering with 10,000 new indoor locations, mostly done through establishment floor plans. Access to this information is seamless. Users just need to zoom in on an establishment and can then see a detailed floor plan, with labels appropriate to the establishment.
For instance, zoom in on an airport and you can see the location of the gates. Zoom in on a shopping mall, and the establishments will appear, including retail stores, restrooms and even ATMs. A few key points to note:
- Google has a big mapping community. The crowd-sourced effort works in conjunction with Google’s own acquisition of GIS data. As such, we can expect more and more establishments to upload their information to make it easier for patrons to browse and navigate.
- Android usually gets first dibs on whatever improvements Google has to offer, and so the indoor navigation functionality has been available on the platform for some time now. Expect more hair-pulling from iOS Maps users who get frustrated with the slow speed and lack of detail on Maps (I know! I have it on my iPhone and I want to rip it straight out of the touchscreen).
- The locations are limited as of now, with support for Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the U.S. More locations will be added soon, and submissions from other countries will greatly help in this effort.
While indoor locations are more useful when accessed from mobile devices, this can still be useful when planning a trip to the mall, museum, library, train station, airport, or any place of interest. If you’re planning to go gadget shopping at brick-and-mortar stores this Cyber Monday, then you might want to check out store layouts before you go, and then use Google Maps on your Android device to help find the establishments when you’re actually in the area.
If you’re a store or establishment owner, you might want to submit your floor plans to Google, which can help encourage people with their virtual exploration.