Sunday, March 18, 2012

HERE for Android Adds Indoor Maps


We’ve talked a lot about indoor location and navigation in the last few months. Undoubtedly, it’s one of the main movements in GPS right now, and there are dozens of companies that are working towards finding a solution to helping people find their way inside of large buildings.

One of the newer names to the indoor location scene, Nokia, announced earlier this month that it will be including indoor mapping of more than 11,700 locations in 76 different countries as part of its HERE Maps app, available for Android. The company hasn’t released a whole lot of information about the indoor mapping or how it works, but from what I’ve seen, it looks pretty decent. Maps are 3D digital renderings of buildings, and users can swipe, swivel and probably even zoom to their hearts content while searching for directions.

Here’s a video preview of what the maps look like:

While I am very well aware that smartphone navigation has nothing on traditional dedicated GPS devices, I have to admit, that map looks pretty cool. Although, honestly, some part of me can’t help but find the indoor mapping idea a little silly. I mean, I know malls and airports are pretty big, but they have signs everywhere! It’s not THAT easy to get lost. Maybe I have a better internal map that most people? Who knows. Either way, it’s another step for navigation.

From what I can gather, it looks like Nokia has been testing out its HERE mapping application for several months, and the app has finally lost the ‘beta’ tag. If you’re one of the three million users who downloaded the beta app, you’ll likely have to uninstall and re-install the app to get the non-beta version.

HERE maps is free to download and is meant to rival the popular Google Maps for routing and navigation. The application has a host of features, such as improved routing, easier offline capability and, of course, the pretty cool-looking indoor maps.

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