Find your way indoors, with HERE
By Ian Delaney, Jun 25, 2013
When we think of mapping and using apps on our smartphones to get around, we don’t necessarily think of indoor mapping. That’s partly because it’s a relatively new technology; but one that HERE has been working on for a while now.
HERE brings mapping indoors with Venue Maps – we’re using this term because it covers indoor facilities, as well as places such as stadiums, theme parks and golf clubs.
The venue maps are part of the HERE platform and are available on HERE Maps for Nokia Lumia and to our business partners like Bing.
We create precise Venue Maps by not only collecting floor plans, but by also physically visiting venues to ensure that our data is more accurate than those from competitors.
When the HERE team visits a venue they make sure the shapes and dimensions of the buildings and their facilities are correct so that what you see in our Venue Maps reflects what you see in reality. If the building has multiple floors, we also include those. This means that you can find what you’re looking for, no matter what floor it’s on.
We also add the useful attributes, such as ATM locations, escalators, different stores, gate numbers, and restrooms, across all floors.
Venue Maps coverage
So far, HERE has mapped 49,000 buildings in 45 countries. This doesn’t only include shopping malls, but also entire areas. Take London, for example, where some of the best shopping is found not in a mall, but along historic streets, or other outdoor spaces, such as Carnaby Village.
In the New York, of course, Times Square and 5th avenue get the same treatment.
Check out our infograph for more stats.
When you load HERE Maps and find yourself at one of the 49,000+ buildings currently on file across 45 different countries, you’ll notice a blue icon resembling a building; this is the Venue Maps icon. The interior of the building on your Nokia Lumia has a small amount of colour-coding, as well as some extra fine details that you might not have noticed before.
The different colours represent different categories. For example, green represents a restaurant, purple a clothing store, and yellow a cinema.
When you tap on one of these venues, you’ll have access to their address, their phone number and even their email address if they provide it.
Other items of interest, besides specific store locations, are all found by looking for small, unobtrusive icons. For ATMs, look for the dollar sign, for restrooms, look for the international symbol of a male and female standing side by side, and for elevators, you’ll need to look for the symbol of a person standing in a lift; it’s self explanatory, really.
Quite often, the type of building that needs Venue Maps will have several floors to it. Fortunately, Venue Maps has this covered.
When you tap on a store within a mall, the floor number will fade into view on the right-hand side of the screen informing you which floor that’s on.
If you want to see what’s available on other floors, tap that number to change floors.
While panning around the map with your finger is one way of exploring what’s around you, there’s also the facilities and directory options hiding at the bottom of the screen.
This view makes it simple to search for specific stores or facilities in a building, without having to search for it.
With 1,000 new venues being added every three months, and with an already existing 475,000,000+ square meters covered, Venue Maps will continue to expand to more venues around the world.
Have you used Venue Maps yet? Tell us what you think, below.