Google yesterday announced the addition of indoor maps to Google Maps for Android, coming up with a solution that not only offers maps but also an indoor positioning engine to improve accuracy and provides information about the floor level.
Precisions about these indoor maps have been given by Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering, Google Earth and Maps in a blog post.
“Detailed floor plans automatically appear when you’re viewing the map and zoomed in on a building where indoor map data is available. The familiar “blue dot” icon indicates your location within several meters, and when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the interface will automatically update to display which floor you’re on. All this is achieved by using an approach similar to that of ‘My Location’ for outdoor spaces, but fine tuned for indoors.“
The Mountain View company has initially partnered with a limited number of large retailers, airports and transit stations in the U.S. and Japan and will rely on crowdsourcing images of indoor maps to accelerate its coverage. Submitting an indoor map is relatively simple, it just take a few minutes online if you already have each floor plan in a picture format: .gif, .tif, .jpeg, .png, .bmp.
After that, Google is processing the submitted image. The company does not ujst saying that it may takes some time for the map to appear in GG Maps for Android. Obviously these indoor maps are unlikely to be automatically processed but rather rely on people to check accuracy and determine the precise elevation of each floor.
Like any other new Google Maps feature, this one is likely to accelerate the consolidation of the market for indoor positioning and indoor mapping. Some companies might get out of business in the next 18 months and some other find a buyer quicker than expected.
Watch below a video on how to submit a floor plan: