Apple has been working on indoor GPS (or indoor positioning) for a long time now, but a new report says that Apple is preparing to put its 2013 Wi-FiSLAM acquisition to some good use.
While not a part of what most consumers can see at Apple’s website, there is an Indoor Survey page for the Indoor Survey app at the App Store that provides a description of what the Indoor Survey app is meant to do: “By dropping ‘points’ on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through. As you do so, the Indoor Survey App measures the radio frequency (RF) signal data and combines it with an iPhone’s sensor data. The end result is indoor positioning without the need to install special hardware.”
Indoor GPS allows consumers to find their way “indoors” rather than seek directions with maps that only have outdoor locations. What this means down the line is that you’d be able to find a small office indoors that you can’t find on your own, you’d know where the restaurants are in an indoor shopping center without needing to remember it, and you wouldn’t have to pick up a paper Map brochure to find your way through all six floors of the mall. You’d know where you are at every moment, and maps would be as effective indoors as they are outdoors.
We don’t know for now when Apple will incorporate indoor GPS technology into its 3D Maps system, but we can breathe a sigh of relief with this news that indoor GPS is on its way. It will be the next frontier in the mapping battle between Cupertino and its Android-owning, Mountain View rival – but the rival does pose a large threat to the fruit company, I’m afraid.