Showing posts with label Indoor Maps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indoor Maps. Show all posts

Making of Maps: The cornerstones

Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM

This is the second post in our Making of Maps series. Here you’ll get a glimpse of the information we use to build Google Maps from authoritative sources and our own mapping tools. —Ed.

With Google Maps by your side, you have a co-pilot for everything from turn-by-turn directions, to discovering new restaurants to deciding which hiking trails to climb next. This is possible in large part because Google Maps includes information from thousands of authoritative sources as varied as the U.S. Geological Survey, the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, and Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). But even all this isn’t enough to build the most comprehensive map. To give you the highest quality results, we need to fill in details like the right place to turn on an unmarked road and indoor maps of your local museum.

Over the years, we’ve created new sources of information to fill in those details. In fact, one of the most important sources for Google Maps is our own Street View imagery. In addition to giving you a way to virtually explore the world, Street View has helped to improve the quality of what we call our “basemap.” With ground-level images, we can identify one-way roads, pinpoint addresses on the map, and verify street names. This added level of detail gives you better search results, more accurate directions, and smoother turn-by-turn navigation.

Adding and verifying street names and turn restrictions in Taipei City, Taiwan

But Street View isn’t the only way we fill in details on Google Maps. Today, we’re releasing six indoor maps created with our new mapping tool called Cartographer. Cartographer is a backpack equipped with Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology.

The Cartographer creates indoor floor plans on the fly

As the backpack-wearer walks through a building, SLAM technology generates the floor plan in real time and displays it on an Android tablet connected to the backpack’s computer. The wearer can then add points of interest on the go, such as a T-rex replica in a museum. As fast as you can walk, you can map with Cartographer—so you can create floor plans for a 39-story building, like the San Francisco Marriott Marquis hotel, in just a few hours!

Deutsches Museum in Germany features aircrafts and helicopters in historic hangars

Projects like these make Google Maps unique. Our own mapping tools supplement the information from authoritative sources, making it easier for you to get where you need to go.

But the world is big and changes happen every day—businesses open and close, roads go under construction, and new parks are built. You know your neighborhood and what’s important to your local community better than anyone, which is why we created a tool called Map Maker that empowers anyone—from the avid mapper to the traveling businesswoman—to update the map as the world changes. Next up, we’ll talk to members of the Map Maker community to hear their stories. Until next time!

Let indoor Google Maps be your guide this holiday shopping season

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM

(Cross posted from Official Google Blog

The holiday shopping season is upon us. Your favorite retail stores are already playing holiday tunes, promoting sales, and decking out their displays in red and green. But if flashbacks of people rushing all around you frantically trying to find gifts for everyone on their lists are giving you anxiety, fret not. This year you can use indoor Google Maps on your Android device to stay cool, calm, collected and most of all, one step ahead of the crowd.

On Black Friday and throughout this holiday season, simply zoom in to a participating store on Google Maps to devise your shopping game plan. An indoor floor plan with helpful labels will automatically appear, and the familiar “blue dot” icon will help you figure out the fastest way to the accessories department, the food court when you need to refuel, and the closest restroom or ATM when you need a break from your marathon shopping session. For many locations, you can even get indoor walking directions to find the best route from one store to the next. 

Indoor Google Maps for Mall of America in Bloomington, MN (left)
and for Macy’s in New York, NY (right)

These accurate, easy-to-use indoor maps are available for a number of popular retail locations across the globe including many local malls and select Best Buy, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Harrod’s, Selfridges, John Lewis and other stores. With the help of your Android device, you can beeline it to the camcorder you’ve been eyeing for your dad, and then quickly make your way to that sweater you know your sister will love. For list of additional venue partners, including some in Belgium that just became available today, check out this list

Indoor Google Maps for West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (left) 
and for  Nordstrom in Seattle, WA (right)

We hope these indoor maps make finding your way in and around retail stores easier, less stressful and more efficient this holiday season. To access them, simply update Google Maps on your Android by visiting Google Play on your phone or desktop. Happy holiday shopping!

Posted by Cedric Dupont, Product Manager, Google Maps

Explore the great indoors with Google Maps for Android in France

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 6:29 AM

(Cross posted on Google France Blog

Every day, millions of people use Google Maps to get where they need to go, including airports, shopping malls and museums. As of last year, people could continue using Google Maps once inside these popular locations, as we began our effort to provide indoor floor plans and directions via Google Maps for Android.

Today, we’re expanding the coverage of this indoor maps feature to include popular French venues, making the maps of France more comprehensive, accurate and usable for both locals and travelers alike. Now, even if you’re visiting one of these large, well-trafficked places for the first time, you can navigate your way around like a pro. And with the accurate My Location feature that works indoors, you can easily figure out if you’re close to the shop you’re looking for, the escalator that will get you to the right gate, or even the nearest ATM or restroom.

We’ve worked with more than 50 French venues, including shopping malls, retailers, airports and museums, to have their indoor floor plans appear on Google Maps for Android. We even partnered with super markets such as Carrefour so that you can look for items like the “dairy” aisle and figure out the fastest way to the milk products to save time when shopping.

Whether you use indoor maps to view the different departments of iconic French retailers like Galeries Lafayette Montparnasse, or simply to find your way to a fresh loaf of bread at the local Carrefour supermarket, Google Maps for Android can help you explore the great indoors. For a list of locations for which indoor maps are available, check out our Help Center article here.

Otherwise, start your indoor adventure here!

Indoor Google Maps help you make your way through museums

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 9:01 AM

(Cross posted to Official Google Blog

In the past, navigating through museums could be an art form in and of itself. But Google Maps for Android has got wayfinding inside your favorite museums down to a science. With indoor maps and walking directions for U.S. museums now available on your Android phone or tablet, you can plan your route from exhibit to exhibit, identifying points of interest along the way, including between floors.

Today, we’ve added more than twenty popular U.S. museums to our collection of over 10,000 indoor maps that we launched in November: the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cincinnati Museum Center, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and 17 Smithsonian museums—plus a zoo!

My location in the American Museum of Natural History, New York City

To access the floor plans, simply open Google Maps on your Android phone or tablet and zoom in on the museum of interest. To find the museum, either search for it by name using the magnifying glass icon or, if you’re already there, use the “My location” feature to orient yourself. With the “My location” feature enabled you can even get indoor walking directions.

Indoor walking directions in the National Air and Space Museum - Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

More museums are adding their floor plans to Google Maps for Android soon, including the SFMOMA, The Phillips Collection, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. If you’re interested in getting your museum’s floor plan included in Google Maps, visit the Google Maps Floor Plans tool.

Along with the Google Art Project, indoor mapping is one more way we’re working with museums to bring greater access to revered cultural and educational institutions around the world. Tap into the latest version of Google Maps for Android in Google Play, and enjoy exploring the art and science of the great indoors.

Go indoors at locations across the United Kingdom

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Given the current British weather, we seem to be spending a lot more of the summer than we’d hoped indoors. The thing about being indoors is that people often get lost - I’m not talking about in your own home, of course, but when you’re out and about, in train stations, museums, department stores and shopping centres.

We’re happy to announce that today Google is launching indoor maps for Android devices in the UK. You’ll no longer need to feel clueless when you’re at the railway station, trying to figure out where to buy a coffee before you rush to catch your train from platform 11; nor will you feel embarrassed about asking for the lingerie section when you’re in the department store - because you’ll have all the answers in the palm of your hand.

Just open Google Maps on your Android mobile phone, zoom in to the location you’re in and the indoor floor plan magically appears. And for buildings where the information is available, we’ll even show you where you are on the map with a familiar blue dot if you’ve enabled the My Location feature. Next, search for the location you’d like to get to (Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station or Peter Jones in Sloane Square) and we’ll provide directions to help you get there - even if you’re on a completely different floor.

More than 40 venues in the UK have worked with us to have their indoor floor plans appear on Google, ranging from train stations to art galleries, department stores to sporting venues. In fact, any building owner can upload their maps for future inclusion in Google Maps.

I know that I’ll definitely be using the indoor maps feature this summer to find my way around London as I start my work as a volunteer this summer. And no doubt I’ll also be using it in between my shifts, perhaps for a spot of retail therapy at Peter Jones or to check out the James Bond exhibition at the Barbican.

So whatever the weather, take time to explore the indoors this summer in the UK.

The never-ending quest for the perfect map

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

(Cross posted from the Official Google Blog)

For the last decade we’ve obsessed over building great maps for our users—maps that are totally comprehensive (we’re shooting for literally the whole world), ever more accurate and incredibly easy to navigate.


It’s a pretty limited search engine that only draws from a subset of sources. In the same way, it’s not much of a map that leaves you stranded the moment you step off the highway or visit a new country. Over the last few years we’ve been building a comprehensive base map of the entire globe—based on public and commercial data, imagery from every level (satellite, aerial and street level) and the collective knowledge of our millions of users.

Today, we’re taking another step forward with our Street View Trekker. You’ve seen our cars, trikes, snowmobiles and trolleys—but wheels only get you so far. There’s a whole wilderness out there that is only accessible by foot. Trekker solves that problem by enabling us to photograph beautiful places such as the Grand Canyon so anyone can explore them. All the equipment fits in this one backpack, and we’ve already taken it out on the slopes.

Luc Vincent, engineering director, taking the Street View Trekker for a trial run in Tahoe


The next attribute map makers obsess over is accuracy. We still have a way to go because the world is constantly changing—with new houses, cities and parks appearing all the time—it’s a never ending job. But by cross-checking the data we have, we can significantly improve the accuracy of our maps. Turns out our users are as passionate about the quality of Google Maps as we are, and they give us great feedback on where we can do better. We make thousands of edits a day based on user feedback through our Report a Problem tool and via Map Maker, which we launched in 2008. Today we’re announcing the expansion of Map Maker to South Africa and Egypt, and to 10 more countries in the next few weeks: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.


The final element of the perfect map is usability. It’s hard to remember what digital maps were like before Google Maps went live in 2005, and the huge technological breakthroughs that transformed clicking on arrows and waiting, to simply dragging a map with a mouse and watching it render smoothly and quickly. Plus, we added one single search box. Today we have thousands of data sources that feed into our maps making them a rich and interactive experience on any device—from driving directions to transit and indoor maps to restaurant reviews.

People have been asking for the ability to use our maps offline on their mobile phones. So today we’re announcing that offline Google Maps for Android are coming in the next few weeks. Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries. This means that the next time you are on the subway, or don’t have a data connection, you can still use our maps.

The next dimension

An important next step in improving all of these areas—comprehensiveness, accuracy, and usability of our maps—is the ability to model the world in 3D. Since 2006, we’ve had textured 3D buildings in Google Earth, and today we are excited to announce that we will begin adding 3D models to entire metropolitan areas to Google Earth on mobile devices. This is possible thanks to a combination of our new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision that let us automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery. By the end of the year we aim to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.

I have been working on mapping technology most of my life. We’ve made more progress, more quickly as an industry than I ever imagined possible. And we expect innovation to speed-up even more over the next few years. While we may never create the perfect map … we’re going to get much, much closer than we are today.

Shop and travel smarter with Google Maps 6.7 for Android - now with Google Offers and indoor walking directions

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 10:12 AM

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Mobile Blog)

Wherever you are, Google Maps for Android helps you get around and discover new places. Today with the 6.7 release we will help you find offers from nearby businesses in the U.S. -- everything from restaurants, to salons, to city tours. Also, we’ve added indoor walking directions in the U.S. and Japan, plus 360-degree interior photos of businesses, to help you intrepidly make your way indoors and out.

Discover great offers near you

Today, in the U.S. only, we’re launching a way to discover nearby Google Offers in Google Maps for Android. To see great deals near you, tap on “Maps” to open the dropdown menu and then tap on “Offers.” If you see something you like you can click on it to learn more. Some Google Offers can be purchased and saved for later while others are immediately available for free. With free Google Offers, press “Use now” to redeem instantly or “Save for later” for future use. You can also opt-in to receive notifications in the app when there are offers near you.

Explore the great indoors with walking directions and Business Photos.

Since we launched indoor maps in the U.S. and Japan in Google Maps for Android last November, business owners have been adding their floor plans to our maps with Google Maps Floor Plans. Today, we are launching indoor walking directions for participating venues in these countries. This will help you get directions not only to a building’s front door, but also through those doors to the places where you want to go inside.

Indoor walking directions
Get Indoor walking directions in indoor maps (photo: Macy’s San Francisco)

With Google Business Photos you can explore panoramic photos of the inside of a business from the palm of your hand. Now you can get a feel for a restaurant or store inside as well as outside using Street View technologies. To access these 360-degree panoramic views, look for the “See Inside” section on the Place page of select businesses.

Business Photos
See the interior of participating businesses with Business Photos (photo: Toyjoy)

Download Google Maps 6.7 for Android from Google Play, and use it as your trusted guide to help you find and discover places to eat, shop and play! You can also learn more about other great features on the Google Maps YouTube channel.

Connect with people and places you love this Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 7:30 AM

(Cross posted on the Official Google Blog)

A few months ago we shared an engagement story about a Google engineer who used Google Maps to help coordinate an elaborate proposal to his girlfriend. It served as a great example of how Google Maps can be more than just a handy tool for directions; it can help connect you to the places and people you love.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we were once again reminded of the unifying power of maps through our ongoing work with one of America’s most famous malls, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. We recently collaborated with Mall of America to conveniently bring its indoor floor plans and My Location information to Android mobile users. As the largest indoor retail space in the United States—complete with a theme park and aquarium—finding your way around Mall of America can be challenging. So we mapped it, enabling you to quickly and easily see where you are and what’s around you from the palm of your hand.

Check out the video below to see how the enormous Mall of America can be scaled down to a romantic setting for two.

Whether it’s through a customized scavenger hunt, search results for a local store with the perfect gift or the best directions to get to your date on time, we hope Google Maps helps you navigate your way to a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

Get indoor maps of Las Vegas Casinos, the Convention Center and more

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 9:05 AM

At the 2012 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV, attendees will now be able to use Google Maps on their Android devices to help them find their way in the sea of exhibitors and attractions throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center, select resorts and casinos along the Las Vegas strip, as well as the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

Las Vegas Convention Center with CES Exhibitors

Since November of last year, you’ve been able to use Google Maps in select places to get detailed floor plans and indoor location information within a few meters, as well as an accurate floor level location. Today, we’ve expanded the list of places with indoor maps by partnering with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and others, to provide indoor maps for Caesars Palace, Bellagio, The Venetian, The Palazzo, MGM Grand and many more.

We hope that these indoor maps will come in handy when finding your way through the slots and to the shops. And for those of you who catch gadget-fever with CES in town, we've also partnered with a number of Best Buy stores in the Las Vegas area. For more detailed list of indoor maps partners, go to our help center or to see a demo, start here.

Left: MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, Right: Caesars Palace

Starting today, we’re also releasing some of the first floor plans in Google Maps that were uploaded through the Google Maps Floor Plans tool. From malls to convention centers, museums and educational institutions from California to New York you will now be able to see these floor plans in Google Maps for Android.

So the next time you are looking for the perfect table to win the jackpot or can’t find the nearest restroom, simply open Google Maps on your Android device and let indoor maps show you the way. If you’re attending CES, please come by the the Google Maps booth to learn more and preview our upcoming Google Maps game!

A new frontier for Google Maps: mapping the indoors

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 9:33 AM

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog)

“Where am I?” and “What’s around me?” are two questions that cartographers, and Google Maps, strive to answer. With Google Maps’ “My Location” feature, which shows your location as a blue dot, you can see where you are on the map to avoid walking the wrong direction on city streets, or to get your bearings if you’re hiking an unfamiliar trail. Google Maps also displays additional details, such as places, landmarks and geographical features, to give you context about what’s nearby. And now, Google Maps for Android enables you to figure out where you are and see where you might want to go when you’re indoors.

When you’re inside an airport, shopping mall or retail store, a common way to figure out where you are is to look for a freestanding map directory or ask an employee for help. Starting today, with the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hands, helping you determine where you are, what floor you're on, and where to go indoors.

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.

Mall of America in Minneapolis before and after, with a floor selector

San Francisco International Airport before and after, with 3D tilt

We’ve initially partnered with some of the largest retailers, airports and transit stations in the U.S. and Japan, including:
  • Mall of America, IKEA, The Home Depot, select Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Daimaru, Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi locations and more. Watch an IKEA demo here.
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Narita International (NRT), among others.
  • JR and Tokyu Corporation
For a detailed list of participating locations, please visit our help center. And this is just the start--we’ll continually add new indoor maps to public buildings across the world. If you’re a business owner interested in getting your location’s floor plan included in Google Maps, visit

We’re thrilled Google Maps continues to provide you with new and helpful perspectives—whether you’re rushing through the airport or finding your way around a mall. To visit our website and learn more about indoor Google Maps and other features, start here.