Google maps adds 20 locations to indoor map service

Steven Loeb · July 10, 2012 · Short URL:

17 Smithsonian Museums, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Zoo all added

Google Maps may soon be gone from your iPhone, but don’t count them out just yet. It is still adding features that may just make everyone wish they had the old Google Maps back again.

Google announced Tuesday the addition of 20 new museums to its indoor maps. Users will now indoor walking directions at 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, the Smithsonian National Zoo and 17 different Smithsonian museums, including the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

“An increasing number of our visitors now turn to their mobile devices and familiar applications to help them find their way and get information about the Smithsonian,” Nancy Proctor, head of mobile strategy and initiatives at the Smithsonian, said in a press release on Tuesday.

“Indoor Google Maps helps us achieve our goal of putting the Smithsonian in their hands, both literally and figuratively.”

The new indoor maps will cover 2.7 million square feet.

These new locations will be in addition to the 10,000 maps that Google already provides, after debuting the feature in November 2011. Google maps provides locations such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland and the United States, including: the Museum of Natural History in New York City; Chicago O’Hare Ahe irport; the British Museum; La Praille in Geneva; and the Marunouchi Building in Tokyo.

“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,” Google wrote.

Future locations for indoor maps include SFMOMA, The Phillips Collection, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Museums are encouraged to use the Google Maps Floor Plans tool to get added to the list.

The Google Maps Floor Plans tool is similar to a new startup called BuildingLayer, which allows users to create maps for any indoor space.

“Use our simple web-based editing tool to locate a target building, upload custom floorplan graphics, add points of interest, and define pedestrian navigation routes. Maps created using BuildingLayer can easily be shared with the community, so that people no longer have an excuse for getting lost in your building!” BuildingLayer says on its website.

BuildingLayer recently took home the People’s Choice Award at Vator Splash SF.

In addition to indoor mapping, Google also cites the Google Art Project, which lets global users view art exhibits online through high resolution photographs, as ways that they are “working with museums to bring greater access to revered cultural and educational institutions around the world.”

Indoor maps are currently available in Android 2.2 or above and Google Maps for Android 6.0 or above.

Google Maps recently suffered a bit of a setback when Apple announced that they would be dropping the service in favor of its own map.

There was no word from Apple on whether or not a similar indoor map system would be provided on it new map.

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BuildingLayer is a collaborative map of the indoor world. We enable organizations to more effectively navigate spaces, track inventory, manage facilities, and visualize other indoor data layers. We're making "lost" obsolete.

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Nick Such

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CEO at BuildingLayer. Past at GE/Toyota/KSTC. Used to race solar-powered cars. Got into Stanford MBA, but chose startup path. I love assembling teams of smart people to solve hard problems.