July 5th, 2012 by Lucy Brandt
If, like me, your sense of direction and/or spatial awareness are hilariously bad, then Google’s latest Indoor Maps offering will be another life saver.Â Launched in the US last November and now available in the UK, it provides floor plans for over 40 locations including art galleries, sporting venues, train stations and even airports, from Kings Cross to the V&A.
Not all the sites are up and running as yet and the ones that are can only be accessed via Android devices.Â But the feature is easy to use, you simply tap-in the location you want and up pops the floor plan automatically, along with a helpful blue arrow to pinpoint you if you’ve enabled the ” My Location” option. And for businesses eager to add their own floor plans to the service, these can be uploaded for future integration.
The new floor plan announcement is the latest in a series of upgrades but as David Meyers at ZDNet points out, Â ’the most important boost to the Google Maps platform in recent months has arguably been the introduction of offline functionality.” This obviously enables users to access maps from over 100 countries, even without internet connectivity – useful if you’re on the tube or just can’t log-on.
For people wanting to find the shoe shop or station platform without having to ask directions, Indoor Maps will certainly be very useful. But it remains to be seen whether Google or Microsoft will dominate this indoor mapping space, with both companies launching new international locations in recent weeks.