Our latest update for HERE for Android went live just last week. One of the most notable additions is Venue Maps, also available on our Windows Phone apps, and through a range of third-party apps making use of our data.
If you haven’t come across them before, Venue Maps cover large indoor locations, like shopping malls, airports and other public places. They’re marked in purple on the map in the Android app: just tap on the open door icon to go inside and see what’s there.
You’ll need to be online to load Venue Maps initially, but once loaded, they’re cached on your phone, so you can venture into the car-park on the lower ground floor, for example, without losing your map.
Venue Maps have a bunch of useful tricks. First of all, they are three-dimensional. Once you’re inside, you can use two fingers to either tilt the view, to obtain an isometric ‘driving-style’ view of the layout. Or you can twist your fingers to rotate the map – you might find it useful to put the entrance you used at the bottom of the screen, for example, so that the map matches your own view of the shops around you.
The video below, made by Blogjack (@BLOGJACK_Jack), shows the 3D features well.
Use the numbers to the right to move up and down a floor. And search, when you’re inside a venue, is focused on what you can find inside. When you want to leave a Venue Map, just click outside its walls.
Maps inside maps
We talked to Joe Leigh, the product manager for HERE Venue Maps, to find out more about how they were developed.
“HERE has 25 years of experience in mapping streets. Then we started to map land cover – features like parks, forests and rivers. And the outlines of buildings. And more recently we started going inside a lot of those buildings,” Joe tells us.
“We’ve mapped a lot of these places already, over just three years: more than 90,000 buildings in 11,700 separate venues, in 76 countries. Altogether, the area covered comes to 1.1 billion square metres.”
That’s the equivalent of 154,000 FIFA official football pitches!
Why so much effort in these places? Well, the average human spends 90 per cent of their lives indoors. And mobile phones have become our main way to interact with maps – devices we can take and use almost anywhere. And besides, who hasn’t ever found themselves completely unable to find the store they’re looking for in a large mall?