Mapping the indoors

25 09 2009

I am a map kind of guy. Two-dimensional? Nope, try three. I have always enjoyed scanning a map and making sense of the symbols, colors, lines and names. With that being said, technology contributes to maps in a significant manner. Think of Google Maps. That single application made it possible for people all over the world to access satellite images that previously were scattered, rather tucked away, within websites all over the Internet. Once again, Google proved to be a tremendous innovator by bringing such capabilities to the online public.

This post is not meant to sing the praises of Google Maps. Rather, another application from a small start-up company in California deserves some praise. So here I am to present to you….Micello. Micello is currently an iPhone application, though plans are in the works to expand to other media platforms, in which you can view detailed maps of major indoor spaces. Remember me praising Google Maps above? Well, big problem, Google Maps can’t help you when you are lost inside a government building, or a major mall or an indoor arena. Micello, however, can do just that. The program also runs a search feature so users can type in an item to search for, such as coffee, and the results shown on screen are all the retailers say in the mall that sell coffee. Building off of this, Micello also allows crowd sourcing of information. So, for instance, if a coffee store that had been located on the third floor of the mall on the east wing moved last weekend, a user can post a note indicating the coffee retailer’s new location in the mall before the map data is updated by Micello.

This application touches upon a bigger point regarding mapping in a digital age. We utilize maps almost daily in the form of MapQuest, Google Maps or GPS. But, the great limitation for each of those tools is that when a roof is involved, they are useless. Micello changes the game by refocusing on areas that are most intimate to humans, the inside spaces. I suspect this technology will gain significant interest as people become more accustomed to being able to find direction assistance in digital formats since they have adopted the outdoor usage as if it is second nature. All in all, the Micello application could prove tremendously valuable.

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