Google Maps has launched a new indoor navigation system for airports, allowing passengers to know where they are and where they might want to go when finding their way through the terminals.
Until now, Google Maps has offered the “My Location” feature, which shows a users location as a blue dot, so they can see where they are on the map and avoid walking in the wrong direction on city streets.
In addition, the map also displays additional details, such as places, landmarks and geographical features, to give the user context about what’s nearby.
Now, Google Maps for Android-equipped smartphones has taken it one step further, mapping out the inside layout of airports so people can figure out where they are and see where they might want to go when they’re indoors.
Initially Google has partnered with airports in the US and Japan, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco International Airport, McCarran International Airport and Narita International, among others.
Instead of looking for a freestanding map or directory or asking an employee for help, Google Maps 6.0 for Android, brings the information to a passenger’s smartphone, helping them determine where they are, what floor they're on, and where to go indoors.
Randall Walker, Clark County director of aviation at McCarran International Airport, said: “People often use Google Maps to get a lay of the land outdoors, but this enhancement takes the service to a whole new level.
“Travellers at McCarran now need look no further than their own Android mobile device to see where they are in relation to their flight’s gate, or the nearest restaurant or restroom.”
Detailed floor plans automatically appear when they view the map and zoom in on a building where indoor map data is available.
The same ‘blue dot’ icon indicates their location within several metres, and when the person moves up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the interface will automatically update to display which floor they’re on.
Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), added: “This new Google maps feature will give travellers more opportunity to enjoy their time at our airports by visiting restaurants or getting a cup of coffee, getting some last-minute shopping done, or just get to their gates more easily.”
The system is currently available at the following airports in the US:
- Akron-Canton Regional Airport
- Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
- Boise International Airport
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport
- Chicago Midway International Airport
- Chicago O'Hare International Airport
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
- George Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport
- Indianapolis International Airport
- Kansas City International Airport
- Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
- Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
- Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport
- Portland International Airport
- San Francisco International Airport
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
- William P. Hobby Airport
And in Japan:
- Narita International Airport
- Haneda Airport, International Terminal
- Haneda Airport, Domestic Terminal