Urban Fold

Map Apps Move Indoors

A time when your mobile phone can help you navigate the homogenous corridors of an indoor mall as easily as the route that got you there is, seemingly, not far off, as Seoul unveils an app that can navigate the city both above and below street level.

Elizabeth Woyke examines the soon to be released free mobile application, called Fing, that, "could set a new standard for city navigation guides around the world." 

According to Woyke, "Street-level navigation taps the phone's GPS like a typical mapping app." But it's when you leave the gaze of GPS tracking satellites that the innovation begins: "in places where GPS doesn't work, such as underground and deep inside shopping malls, Fing switches to Wi-Fi-based indoor positioning to track users' locations and provide directions." 

"By making malls and underground markets easily navigable, Fing's creators hope to encourage shopping and socializing. The app is backed by the Korea Trade Network (KTNET), a subsidiary of Korea's international trade association."

But not all of its potential uses are tied to extracting more dollars from your wallet. Woyke notes that, "Another major use of the app could end up being emergency aid. A one-click feature in Fing will send a text message to the nearest police or fire department. The message will include a request for help and the coordinates of the user's location for expedited rescue."

 

 

Full Story: Citywide Indoor Navigation Is Closer Than You Think

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