When was the last time you felt lost inside a mall? Have you ever felt helpless, not being able to remember where you parked the car in the underground parking lot? Or was it that office building where you went for a meeting and couldn’t find your way to the correct department? While we all use Google Maps, or other navigation apps, as guides for city tours, we often forget that there exist indoor navigation apps too.
Yes, there are dedicated navigation apps that will help you navigate inside malls, buildings, parking lots and other indoor settings. This will save you a lot of time that can be otherwise wasted going up and down the escalator and asking for directions. Let’s begin.
1. Path Guide
Path Guide was released by Microsoft and is available on Android only. The app is well designed and works equally well. It follows a plug-n-play model and uses sensors to show your way around. Surprisingly, you don’t need an active GPS to make it work. The sensors, barometer and magnetometer, on your smartphone will collect data which will be used to create an in-door map.
If you are the owner of the building then Path Guide will let you add images as well. This will further simplify the process of making a choice like whether you need to go left or right or take that flight of stairs. The app will also calculate the number of steps, turns, and levels involved in the destination. The app is completely free with no ads whatsoever.
Download Path Guide: Android
2. Google Indoor Maps
Google Maps is used by millions if not billions of people across the world to navigate around the world. It is probably the best navigating app, free to use and comes with no ads. Being a leader in mapping and navigation, it is no surprise that Maps also features Indoor Maps.
If you enter a building which already has indoor navigation, Google Maps will show it to you automatically. At the moment, some buildings that are supported by the app consists of airports, malls, bus bays, stadiums, etc. If you own a building then you can use Indoor Maps within Google Maps to add your layout and floor plan. No separate app is needed. Tap on the building and zoom in to see if an indoor map of the floor plan is available.
Google has made it easy. You can also mail your floor details to the following email IDs:
- Asia and the Pacific Islands: email@example.com
- North and South America: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Africa, Europe, and the Middle East: email@example.com
3. Anyplace Indoor Service
Anyplace Indoor Service is a free and open source project that is available on GitHub. The service makes it easy to add a new building in as little as 1 second. You can begin with adding floor plans, images, POIs (points of interests), and use the campus mode to signify whether the building is part of a group.
This makes it really easy to navigate inside a building or infrastructure, say from one POI to another. Anyplace Indoor Service claims that their API and tech is accurate to 1.96 meters which is really impressive and should be more than enough to help you reach where you want.
Anyplace has won a number of International awards for its design and implementation. Apart from Android, it is also available on Windows.
Download Anyplace Indoor Service: Android
4. Situm Mapping Tool
Do you have to visit the same building again and again? Do you own a building? Why wait for someone else to create indoor navigation maps when you can do it yourself. This way, you can help others find their way around too. Situm Mapping Tool will use WiFi, Bluetooth, and your smartphone sensors like Gyroscope to create an indoor map.
Recording path and routes within a building or space are easy now. Note that you can not only create but share maps with others but to do so, you will need to create an account which is free. There is a handy tutorial available inside the app to guide you on how to record pathways. Situm app is free to use and without any ads.
Download Situm Mapping Tool: Android
5. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a unique concept and it can be used as an indoor navigation system. A global initiative where millions of people help those who cannot see or are visually impaired. So you have visibility issues, you can use this app to ask for help.
If there is anyone who is using the app and is near you, he/she will guide you inside the building to your preferred destination. I know this is not exactly indoor mapping technology but still, it is used for indoor navigation. Arguably, the purpose of indoor mapping is indoor navigation, isn’t it? This is a must-have app for those who are visually-impaired. Be My Eyes is free to use and is available on both Android and iOS.
6. Here Indoor Radio Mapping
Here Indoor Radio Mapping, they really need a shorter name, uses their own proprietary software called Here Indoor Position which works similar to GPS. This doesn’t mean you need a GPS for the app to work. It will use your WiFi and Bluetooth but I guess, they needed a fancy name. Anyways, the app works as intended giving you directions when you are inside a building.
If you are the owner or architecture of the building, you will need iBeacon compliance after which, you can add images and directions inside the app. They have an SDK for Android apps which you can incorporate within your app.
Download Here Indoor Radio Mapping: Android
7. Indoor Measurements
Another indoor map generator app that you can use to create a digital layout of your premises. This will help you or your customers navigate your building with ease. Again you will need a beacon installed in your building in order for Indoor Measurements app to work.
You can add floor maps, images and upload other data to create pathways. The good thing is that most types of beacons are supported so the restrictions are less and the entry point barrier is low. Once again, the app is only available on Android.
Download Indoor Measurements: Android
8. Indoor GPS
Indoor GPS is a pretty popular indoor GPS mapping and navigation app that you can use to create POIs and pathways inside the building. Uploading floor plans is easy and you can add images where you think it is necessary.
Indoor GPS, like other indoor mapping and navigation apps in the list, is free to download and use and comes with no ads whatsoever. There is an SDK which you can use to incorporate into your own app if you have one for your building.
Unlike other apps in the list that rely on sensors and WiFi or Bluetooth to guide users indoors, Indoor GPS will use GPS for the same. I guess that’s why they have used the word in their app name.
Download Indoor GPS: Android
9. IndoorAtlas MapCreator 2
IndoorAtlas MapCreator 2 won’t let you add maps, POIs, and floor plans through their Android app. You will need a laptop for the same. The Android app can only be used to record pathways using the gyroscope. Once the pathways have been recorded and you have uploaded the necessary data, it works pretty well.
You can ask your customers to use the app which they will find helpful in navigating the premises. The good thing is that their app is available on both Android and iOS platform. Apart from gyroscope, you will also need WiFi, magnetometer (compass), and accelerometer (hardware sensor, not virtual gyroscope) sensors on your smartphone to navigate indoors.
Indoor Navigation Apps
These are some of the best indoor navigation apps for Android and iOS platforms whether you are an owner or a user. If you are an owner, you can use these apps to create maps, POIs, and add images to make it easier for your customers and users to navigate inside the building. If you are a user, you can use these apps to find your way around. Either way, they are super helpful and quickly changing the way we go about doing our business when moving inside buildings.