Apple details indoor maps coverage of 34 airports, multiple malls

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 33
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,069member
    dewme said:
    Is this implying that Apple has to do all the grunt work to get an indoor map generated for a facility? If so it seems like this will be a long and drawn out effort that will always be lagging behind and missing information on essential locations. Seems to me that the data formats, 3D location information, service locations, and the associated metadata required to support indoor mapping in a rich way should be based on an open standard so anyone who follows the standard can contribute to and support the data in multiple applications and products. Relying on Apple or Google to do it by themselves in a proprietary way simply doesn't scale. The number of obvious coverage gaps based on what's listed above is huge, and that's just for the fairly simple locations that are currently covered, i.e., low hanging fruit. When you get outside of the US and into countries that have large integrated transportation systems, like Frankfurt, Germany, just having the indoor map of the airport itself isn't good enough. It also needs to include all of the adjoining train station maps as well. Same goes for airports with large adjoining rental car facilities.

    Indoor mapping of airports and shopping malls (malls still exist? huh...) is an okay first start, but why not hospitals, schools, universities, corporate/government campuses, libraries, museums, subway stations, train stations, sports facilities, military bases, huge warehouses, mines, theme parks, camp grounds, huge retail stores (Walmart, Wegmans, Costco, ...), etc.? Indoor location information for facilities would be immensely useful for first responders. Finer granularity mapping of the interiors of even individual buildings would be a good next step. Defining a standard description language and metadata for micro-mapping structures would allow this to happen at the scale needed to make it generally and universally useful, not only for guiding humans (and robots and drones) through internal structures, but also for virtually viewing the interiors of structures using virtual reality (VR). Once structures are mapped it also provides a framework for binding/attaching augmented reality (AR) information and presentation to the physical structures and their attributes because the micro-mapping data can be correlated with observations and possibly beacons and badges (barcodes, QR codes, passive RFID transponders, etc.). All this is much bigger than what Apple can do alone so they need to involve others sooner rather than later.   
    You’re getting carried away with yourself. Have you bothered to think about how much it costs to do this, and just how many people are involved? I would think not. And they are doing major subway stations.they have mapped several here in NYC, and in other places. I doubt if most people care about mapping most of the things you want done.

    but, as the major requirements are met, over time, then less important areas will likely get the treatment. But remember that places such as malls, change with regularity. Just keeping up with that takes some effort.
    edited December 2017 StrangeDays
  • Reply 22 of 33
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,069member

    AF_Hitt said:
    Legitimate question, not trying to bash Apple Maps or anything (I use it regularly in CarPlay and love it):

    What is different about this compared to the indoor maps that Google Maps has had for years? Most airports I’ve been through, many many many malls, heck, Best Buy (down to each individual aisle), are all mapped on Google Maps with highly accurate data. Not trying to start anything, just trying to understand the difference.


    What good is a really detailed map if your smartphone can’t tell you accurately where you are? Accurate indoor positioning is more challenging as GPS signal isn’t always available. 

    http://iphone.appleinsider.com/articles/13/03/23/apple-buys-indoor-gps-company-wifislam-for-20m

    It is unfortunate that they acquired this company in 2013 and it has taken this long to implement it widely.  
    This isn’t science fiction, where everything takes a week. It takes years. And they need to get these companies and governments behind the idea. It does no good to have the technology if you can’t convince the people you need that they should implement it. In addition, there has been a very vocal contingent against this. They don’t like the idea that you can be tracked inside these places. Paranoid? I agree, but that’s the way it is. I know a guy who won’t use EasyPass for tolls because he’s afraid the “Gov’ment” will know where he is.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 23 of 33
    Pretty neat. Just tried Terminal 1, Level 2 at LAX:

  • Reply 24 of 33
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,069member

    AF_Hitt said:
    Legitimate question, not trying to bash Apple Maps or anything (I use it regularly in CarPlay and love it):

    What is different about this compared to the indoor maps that Google Maps has had for years? Most airports I’ve been through, many many many malls, heck, Best Buy (down to each individual aisle), are all mapped on Google Maps with highly accurate data. Not trying to start anything, just trying to understand the difference.
    Why should there be a difference? If Apple did it first, would you ask that here about Google?

    eventually, all these companies will be doing the same things. That’s called competition. The only difference will be in the details.
  • Reply 25 of 33
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,881member
    melgross said:
    You’re getting carried away with yourself. Have you bothered to think about how much it costs to do this, and just how many people are involved? I would think not. And they are doing major subway stations.they have mapped several here in NYC, and in other places. I doubt if most people care about mapping most of the things you want done.
    but, as the major requirements are met, over time, then less important areas will likely get the treatment. But remember that places such as malls, change with regularity. Just keeping up with that takes some effort.
    It's all very doable as long as you don't try to reinvent the wheel. Every US Navy ship has a standard convention for uniquely identifying every compartment on a ship and it applies to every unique type of ship and the hundreds of ships in the fleet. Many large buildings and manufacturing plants have similar location conventions but the conventions are not standardized. Yes, standards take time, effort, and money to develop (which I know from firsthand experience) but they usually end up saving a much greater amount of time, effort, and money in the long run and they reduce ambiguity and preserve investment. I worked on passive RFID tag based systems 32 years ago so I have a high level of confidence that location encoded beacons could be developed today that can be interrogated by Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, or similar technology in smartphones to establish datum references to precisely show you where you are in a map model described in a mapping/location definition language, much like the location information/language used by pick & place machines that have been used to precisely place electronic components on PCBs for at least the last 30 years or so. Once you have a model (map) that describes the relative locations and identities (metadata) of items of interest and at least one beacon reference (datum) to show "you are here" you're all set. This exact model has existed in physical form for decades. Digitizing it in a standard and reusable format is not a stretch. Reusing existing technology and similar examples of how location and placement problems have been previously solved provide good starting points. I suspect someone is already doing this, probably in a proprietary way. 
  • Reply 26 of 33
    bshankbshank Posts: 224member
    The Burlington Mall in Burlington Massachusetts has it! Very cool feature
  • Reply 27 of 33
    Pretty neat. Just tried Terminal 1, Level 2 at LAX:

    I wish that was Terminal 1, but the vendors are all wrong. Maybe Terminal 2?
  • Reply 28 of 33
    lojack said:
    Pretty neat. Just tried Terminal 1, Level 2 at LAX:

    I wish that was Terminal 1, but the vendors are all wrong. Maybe Terminal 2?
    I must be mistaken about which terminal I selected since I wasn’t actually at the airport at the time.
  • Reply 29 of 33
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,069member
    dewme said:
    melgross said:
    You’re getting carried away with yourself. Have you bothered to think about how much it costs to do this, and just how many people are involved? I would think not. And they are doing major subway stations.they have mapped several here in NYC, and in other places. I doubt if most people care about mapping most of the things you want done.
    but, as the major requirements are met, over time, then less important areas will likely get the treatment. But remember that places such as malls, change with regularity. Just keeping up with that takes some effort.
    It's all very doable as long as you don't try to reinvent the wheel. Every US Navy ship has a standard convention for uniquely identifying every compartment on a ship and it applies to every unique type of ship and the hundreds of ships in the fleet. Many large buildings and manufacturing plants have similar location conventions but the conventions are not standardized. Yes, standards take time, effort, and money to develop (which I know from firsthand experience) but they usually end up saving a much greater amount of time, effort, and money in the long run and they reduce ambiguity and preserve investment. I worked on passive RFID tag based systems 32 years ago so I have a high level of confidence that location encoded beacons could be developed today that can be interrogated by Bluetooth, NFC, WiFi, or similar technology in smartphones to establish datum references to precisely show you where you are in a map model described in a mapping/location definition language, much like the location information/language used by pick & place machines that have been used to precisely place electronic components on PCBs for at least the last 30 years or so. Once you have a model (map) that describes the relative locations and identities (metadata) of items of interest and at least one beacon reference (datum) to show "you are here" you're all set. This exact model has existed in physical form for decades. Digitizing it in a standard and reusable format is not a stretch. Reusing existing technology and similar examples of how location and placement problems have been previously solved provide good starting points. I suspect someone is already doing this, probably in a proprietary way. 
    Well, Apple came out with beacons several years ago, as you should know. But that’s not what you were talking ago earlier. You were saying that Apple should map hundreds of thousands of buildings. Yes, you didn’t put it quite that way, but that’s what it amounts to.

    beacons are only good when you are in the location, with the appropriate phone, and the software is turned on.

    when talking about the military, you are talking about a special case, with a relatively small number of ships. And it’s the military, so expense takes a second place to need.
  • Reply 30 of 33
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,881member
    melgross said:
    Well, Apple came out with beacons several years ago, as you should know. But that’s not what you were talking ago earlier. You were saying that Apple should map hundreds of thousands of buildings. Yes, you didn’t put it quite that way, but that’s what it amounts to.

    beacons are only good when you are in the location, with the appropriate phone, and the software is turned on.

    when talking about the military, you are talking about a special case, with a relatively small number of ships. And it’s the military, so expense takes a second place to need.
    No, I wasn't implying that Apple should map anything. Quite the opposite. The only thing I was suggesting is a standard definition format/language that anyone can use to describe the interior layout of buildings, structures, and facilities so Apple doesn't have to do hardly any location specific definition work. People who own the buildings/structures/facilities would generate a format and Apple (and Google) would consume this format in their tools to generate a workable map on the device. This scheme is intended to get Apple out of the indoor mapping grunt work and put the responsibility for map creation on the building/structure/facility owners. Not having an ATL or FRA interior airport map on your iPhone shouldn't be Apple's problem to solve at all, it should be whoever is in charge of those airports problem to solve, much like homeowners are responsible for having an address (and container) that allows the USPS to deliver mail to the homeowner or occupant. 

    The beacons are simply to provide the user with the "You are here" marker to allow the user to orient themselves properly within the map. The actual beacons would have to be synchronized/correlated with the location information (location ID) in the map description format. The map format itself could encoded be as simple as a JSON or XML file, perhaps with accompanying graphical information, including branding for storefronts, to make the presentation more user friendly. The only mildly cerebral part is agreeing on the "language" such as keywords, syntax, and semantics for the interior location mapping format. Like I said, someone like Google has probably already worked this out at some level internally.

    By the way, the US Navy's compartment location scheme, which is called a "bullseye" marker by sailors, is incredibly simple and very low cost. It's a 4 part alphanumeric address code, e.g., 2-20-2-L, painted on the bulkhead of every compartment inside a ship. The actual painting of the marker is usually done by the sailors themselves. They work very cheap. This marker fully describes a unique compartment within the ship just like your home address uniquely defines your location on a map that follows the same street naming and numbering convention. Very low tech implementation but universally useful because every US Navy ship follows the same convention.

      
  • Reply 31 of 33
    dewme said:
    Is this implying that Apple has to do all the grunt work to get an indoor map generated for a facility? If so it seems like this will be a long and drawn out effort that will always be lagging behind and missing information on essential locations. Seems to me that the data formats, 3D location information, service locations, and the associated metadata required to support indoor mapping in a rich way should be based on an open standard so anyone who follows the standard can contribute to and support the data in multiple applications and products. Relying on Apple or Google to do it by themselves in a proprietary way simply doesn't scale. The number of obvious coverage gaps based on what's listed above is huge, and that's just for the fairly simple locations that are currently covered, i.e., low hanging fruit. When you get outside of the US and into countries that have large integrated transportation systems, like Frankfurt, Germany, just having the indoor map of the airport itself isn't good enough. It also needs to include all of the adjoining train station maps as well. Same goes for airports with large adjoining rental car facilities.

    Indoor mapping of airports and shopping malls (malls still exist? huh...) is an okay first start, but why not hospitals, schools, universities, corporate/government campuses, libraries, museums, subway stations, train stations, sports facilities, military bases, huge warehouses, mines, theme parks, camp grounds, huge retail stores (Walmart, Wegmans, Costco, ...), etc.? Indoor location information for facilities would be immensely useful for first responders. Finer granularity mapping of the interiors of even individual buildings would be a good next step. Defining a standard description language and metadata for micro-mapping structures would allow this to happen at the scale needed to make it generally and universally useful, not only for guiding humans (and robots and drones) through internal structures, but also for virtually viewing the interiors of structures using virtual reality (VR). Once structures are mapped it also provides a framework for binding/attaching augmented reality (AR) information and presentation to the physical structures and their attributes because the micro-mapping data can be correlated with observations and possibly beacons and badges (barcodes, QR codes, passive RFID transponders, etc.). All this is much bigger than what Apple can do alone so they need to involve others sooner rather than later.   
    I believe their work on ARkit will bear fruit in the near future as they will be able to generate 3D maps much faster using consumer level hardware.

    I like your idea of an open standard format but I don't think Google or Apple are interested.
    Google is clearly leading in mapping and would not want to create a standard that would help competitors to catch up.
    Apple likes to be lean and nimble. An open standard would be too "least common denominator" for them.
    Apple likes to shoot for the moon and make us shit our pants when they finally unveil the future.
  • Reply 32 of 33
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,069member
    dewme said:
    melgross said:
    Well, Apple came out with beacons several years ago, as you should know. But that’s not what you were talking ago earlier. You were saying that Apple should map hundreds of thousands of buildings. Yes, you didn’t put it quite that way, but that’s what it amounts to.

    beacons are only good when you are in the location, with the appropriate phone, and the software is turned on.

    when talking about the military, you are talking about a special case, with a relatively small number of ships. And it’s the military, so expense takes a second place to need.
    No, I wasn't implying that Apple should map anything. Quite the opposite. The only thing I was suggesting is a standard definition format/language that anyone can use to describe the interior layout of buildings, structures, and facilities so Apple doesn't have to do hardly any location specific definition work. People who own the buildings/structures/facilities would generate a format and Apple (and Google) would consume this format in their tools to generate a workable map on the device. This scheme is intended to get Apple out of the indoor mapping grunt work and put the responsibility for map creation on the building/structure/facility owners. Not having an ATL or FRA interior airport map on your iPhone shouldn't be Apple's problem to solve at all, it should be whoever is in charge of those airports problem to solve, much like homeowners are responsible for having an address (and container) that allows the USPS to deliver mail to the homeowner or occupant. 

    The beacons are simply to provide the user with the "You are here" marker to allow the user to orient themselves properly within the map. The actual beacons would have to be synchronized/correlated with the location information (location ID) in the map description format. The map format itself could encoded be as simple as a JSON or XML file, perhaps with accompanying graphical information, including branding for storefronts, to make the presentation more user friendly. The only mildly cerebral part is agreeing on the "language" such as keywords, syntax, and semantics for the interior location mapping format. Like I said, someone like Google has probably already worked this out at some level internally.

    By the way, the US Navy's compartment location scheme, which is called a "bullseye" marker by sailors, is incredibly simple and very low cost. It's a 4 part alphanumeric address code, e.g., 2-20-2-L, painted on the bulkhead of every compartment inside a ship. The actual painting of the marker is usually done by the sailors themselves. They work very cheap. This marker fully describes a unique compartment within the ship just like your home address uniquely defines your location on a map that follows the same street naming and numbering convention. Very low tech implementation but universally useful because every US Navy ship follows the same convention.

      
    So you’re saying that these companies would use this to map their facilities, and than send that info to Apple to add to Maps?
  • Reply 33 of 33
    Is it odd to ask why SFO isn't on here seeing as Cupertino is a stone's throw (figuratively) away?
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