Getting lost in a giant building may soon become a thing of the past.
The race is on to create mapping apps that will allow people to navigate buildings in much the same way drivers use global positioning systems to find their way on roads. A group of electrical and computer engineering students at the University of Windsor in Ontario has developed a mapping app that uses a building's Wi-Fi network and floor plan like electronic bread crumbs.
"It draws you the shortest path from where you are to where you want to go," Brendan Rhyno, a 22-year-old Windsor student, told the Canadian Press. The four students created the app for a class project, and while it hasn't been released to the public yet, they hope to make it available for free on various smartphone platforms.
Hospitals, government buildings and museums could all become far more easily navigable soon. Indeed, our own Canadian Broadcasting Centre in downtown Toronto, a notorious labyrinth of a building, could soon become a far less mysterious place for new employees.
"Any time you go to a new mall, you have to find that map when you walk in and try to figure out where the stores you are looking for are," says Rhyno. "It's so much easier to pull out a smartphone, type in HMV store and get a path drawn for you."
The Windsor students aren't the only ones mapping these great unknowns. Tech trends firm ABI Research is predicting that indoor location apps will break one billion downloads by 2016 as smartphone use proliferates. Google is working on indoor maps for airports, malls and transit stations. Even private companies like Bellagio in Las Vegas have developed apps to help visitors navigate their properties.
Says Rhyno, "We all have places to go and it would be helpful to make sure we don't get lost."
Via http://globalnews.ca/news/806559/developers-take-mapping-indoors/">Canadian Press