The Future of Mapping is Going Indoors

Cartographers have a new world to map, as technology opens up the interiors of malls, museums, and other large spaces to online exploration.

2 minute read

November 7, 2015, 7:00 AM PST

By jwilliams @jwillia22

Mall Map

Dushan Hanuska / Flickr

CityMetric reports on the efforts by Google to start mapping the interior of buildings, which presents a whole new area of exploration for cartographers. Sending people into large venues wearing a rucksack contraption, Google is able to map the interior of spaces such as the British Museum in London, allowing viewers to move from the museum’s basement level to the fifth floor to find the location of specific exhibits.

Google has used the rucksack to build up a growing list of indoor maps... Most are large indoor venues, museums or shopping centres – places which often offer their own floorplan maps thanks to their size and the number of services on offer. It makes sense that these maps would eventually transfer to the digital arena, just as outdoor maps have.

Apple appears to be getting into the indoor mapping space as well, launching the “Indoor Survey App”, which CityMetric notes is accessible only through a direct link to the app’s page. “According to the app description, it allows users to map indoor spaces by ‘dropping points’.”

Moving beyond the 2D limitations of Google and Apple Maps, Harvard University is partnering with the Redlands, California-based SmarterBetterCiities to create 3D interior maps of the Harvard campus. SmarterBetterCities uses ESRI’s ArcGIS platform to create 3D models of interior spaces, such as a map prepared for the ESRI User Conference in the San Diego Convention Center, viewable here.

Thursday, November 5, 2015 in Citymetric

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Acela train at Wilmington station in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Passenger Rail Revival Is Here

For the first time in decades, multiple rail projects are moving forward that could have a transformative impact on train travel in the United States.

May 21, 2024 - Route Fifty

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.