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back to article Google Maps takes shelter from the British summer

Google has extended its indoor mapping, launched in America last November, to the UK, providing guidance around any property the owners care to share. Google is priming the pump with floor plans for 40 sites around the UK, including Kings Cross, City Airport and the V&A, but anywhere else that wants visitors to be able to …

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Maps?

I do wish they'd stop calling these maps. Ordnance Survey make real maps. Google's stuff, though possibly OK for driving, are merely charts. And in my area, with known inaccuracies.

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Re: Maps?

I'd say 'map' is a more abstract term that can be applied to any representation of an area. A chart, on the other hand, is a particular kind of map. Nautical charts should be very accurate.

On topic, I'd like to see indoor maps of shopping centres.

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Anonymous Coward

Shopping centres uploading their floor plans to Google would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.

It gives Google the keys to shows ads based on nearby shops and your location. Would shopping centres's tenants really like competitor ads being shown?

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Re: Maps?

Then you can correct those inaccuracies.

Right click, Report problem here...

I've done so before. Not perfect, but Google does provide a very useful service in this area.

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Well yeah, because it means that as well as customers being able to more easily find their store they also get their ads shown too.

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Anonymous Coward

Searching indoor maps for a shopping centre shops, e.g. Levi's and getting ads for online sellers, Ebay and the likes, while great for Google's bottom line, would not be very good for said shops.

Since shops already spend a fortune in rent and physical marketing, I'm not sure they're in a hurry to have to compete in bidding for online map ads too.

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you say that

But I already use the barcode scanning ap on pretty much most things I plan to buy, because it links me straight to google shop search, so I can find out how overpriced that item is. I don't think this would make that big of a difference.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maps? @alpine

A chart is what I use when I'm off shore sailing, a chart is also what I use when I fly light aircraft.

Maps are for foot sloggers and a road atlas is for driving.

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Headmaster

merely charts?

Expect a downvote from every passing sailor

I think you should reconsider your terminology.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maps?

I got a personal reply from Google within a week, and 3 weeks later the fixes were live online and on Android.

I know it's fashionable to hate anything Google this year, what with Microsoft launching surface, but surely credit where credit is due.

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Re: Maps?

I do wish they'd stop calling Nescafe, 'coffee'. Illy makes real coffee. Nescafe's stuff, through possibly OK for builders, are merely freeze dried crap. And in my area, usually give me wind.

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Anonymous Coward

Can I just opt-out of indoor tracking^Wmapping?

Or does it come with bundled with the outdoor one, which is actually useful.

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Kings Cross

Has at least got Platform 9¾ labelled.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kings Cross

So is it between platforms 9 & 10 in the Thameslink "shed" next door?

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Re: Kings Cross

No, it's actually in the middle of the tracks.

Platforms 9 & 10 face each other, though the half cart has been shifted to the concourse.

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Re: Kings Cross

Thameslink doesn't go to platforms 9 and 10, it has its' own shed beyond the idiotically-named platform 0.

Why they didn't rename the platforms starting from 1 I have no idea. Then 9¾ would have been between platform 9 (formerly 8) and platform 10 (formerly 9) numerically and physically.

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Re: starting from 1

Starting from 0 seems perfectly reasonable to me.

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Re: starting from 1

A true computer scientist's answer ;-)

But "platform nothing" isn't exactly traditional or expected in a station, IMHO.

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Re: starting from 1

@dotdavid "But "platform nothing" isn't exactly traditional or expected in a station, IMHO."

You mean like floor 0 (Ground floor) in almost every UK building ;-)

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Re: starting from 1

OK, OK, fair enough - it's not that bad ;-)

Although I do wish there was space for another platform next to it so I could see if they'd make a Platform -1...

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Coat

Re: starting from 1

So does the Circle Line stop at Platform Pi?

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FAIL

Already Competition

Errmm...didn't bing maps introduce this to the UK a couple of weeks back using Nokia's mapping?

They certainly have maps of "The Centre MK", amongst others that I looked at.

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Re: Already Competition

Probably. The product is called Navteq Destination Maps (Navteq are owned by Nokia), and was launched in India and the US last year.

Airports, and large rail stations are the places I'd find this useful. In shopping malls, I'd have thought the point is to wander around -- if you wanted to go directly to a retailer and buy something, it's easier to use the internet or just phone the shop.

In museums, using this technology to link to the audio guide commentaries would be more useful than just telling you where you are.

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Big Brother

Olympic...?

Does that mean Google will be pulling all references to "olympic" from its' search results? I do hope so.

On topic: I accidentally discovered this in Macys in NY when we were sat on the 9th floor looking for directions to our next place... freakily accurate, it pinpointed the department/cafe I was sat in within a 10ft accuracy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Olympic...?

"freakily accurate"

Macy's probably populated their map with ids of all their wireless access points etc

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Re: Olympic...?

It is quite daft, the whole "don't mention the Olympics unless you're a sponsor" thing, and has led to a whole new set of euphemisms.

There's dozens of adverts referring to "the Games". The most obtuse I've come across is the radio advert asking you to give blood before "this summer's big event".

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Re: Olympic...?

You said olympics - stone him.

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Megaphone

Re: Olympic...?

listen, don't mention the Olympics. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right.

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Re: Olympic...?

All right, no one is to stone ANYONE until I blow this whistle. Even... and I want to make this absolutely clear... even if they do say, "Olympics"

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Mushroom

"none are the supermarkets which are surely the indoor place where one is most often lost."

I have a second job in a supermarket and most people get lost because they don't apply common sense or read signs. The signs hanging from the ceiling telling you what is in the aisle below are common to most supermarkets but many people seem to be unaware of their existence. If you can't use signs with big text hanging from the ceiling, then you probably can't navigate using Google maps anyway.

I frequently get snarky comments from customers over the fact the cooked meats have moved since they last came in the shop. That means those customers have not been in the shop for the last 5 years... because that's when the cooked meats were last moved. Supermarkets do change from time to time though, and I'm guessing the maps would not get updated each time anyway.

That started off as a sarcastic one liner and became quite a rant. I surprised myself there.

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Those signs mean nothing.

If I want to find oriental/indian food supplies in my local Tesco, I head to the aisle marked "Polish" ,"World foods" (can't remember the actual name, something on those lines) is only Fajitas and Mexican food.

If I want ingredients for a cake, flour is under "ingredients", caster sugar is under "Eggs" and baking powder is also under "Eggs", the flour is about 8 aisles from the sugar and baking powder.

If I want tapas, it's under "Sausages and Bacon"

The signs are not there to guide you, they're there to confuse. This is why people ignore them. They impart absolutely no useful information in the vast majority of cases.

I hate supermarket signs.

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Linux

"The signs hanging from the ceiling telling you what is in the aisle below are common to most supermarkets but many people seem to be unaware of their existence. If you can't use signs with big text hanging from the ceiling, then you probably can't navigate using Google maps anyway"

I'm sure people are quite aware of them but feel that it is more important to look where they are going instead of staring up at the ceiling and as Thecowking mentioned; the bloody signs are often rather meaningless for certain foodstuffs.

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Joke

1979 calling

You know if you get aggression from those snarky customers just give 'em two times back.

On another score I wonder if the Hammersmith Palais will be mapped?

On balance I reckon it is good that we have maps in the UK as I was SO bored with the USA

er OK that's enough references to make the point

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Would those be the signs hung on a 20' high ceiling? With writing big enough that I could probably read it at 6' distance? I suppose if I get some really tall platform shoes, that would be perfect...

OK, to be fair I've got unusually bad eyesight. And it's not that much of a problem.

However the supermarkets also don't help themselves by putting the bloody signs halfway down the aisle. Very useful for telling you what aisle you're already in, as if you hadn't worked that out from what was on the shelves next to you! If they put the signs at the end of the aisle, they'd be much easier to use. Admittedly that would mean paying for twice as much signage, but it's not changed all that often.

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Agreed

HTF do you get lost in a supermarket? It's a grid layout without half the grid. With signage at every junction visible from both ends. And one end is distinctly different (what with having checkouts and all. And they have people who work there who you can ask - and don't give me that "there's never any staff" line go to the frontend counter if you have to you lazy buggers.

If you can get lost in that no amount of technology is going to save you from yourself.

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Re: Agreed

While I agree that getting lost in a supermarket is done by none but the dimmest of wit, I would point out to you that if you are in fact lost, then going to "the frontend counter" and asking how to find your way, would seem either impossible or to have fixed the problem before needing to ask. Unless of course the person is lost, even at the front of the shop, with the exit probably in sight...

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Unhappy

Re: Agreed

It's not that you are lost, it's that the food you want to find is nowhere to be seen.

Sure you might think that the baking ingredients would be next to each other, but that would be foolish! Oh no, they'll move at least two or three of them to a completely different part of the store and hide them under a sign like "fish" when they are in fact hundreds and thousands (hyperbole comes as standard). Of course, simply working out where they now are is no guide to success, oh no. They move everything on a regular basis so you wander past as many "offers" as possible when you try and find anything.

And people ask me why I prefer to shop online.

*grumpy old man who dislikes super-markets*

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Agreed

Thank you for being, apparently, the only person who understood (or was prepared to explain) my meaning here.

Bill.

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I watched them scan the inside of Olympia too. They had a little cart with a bunch of cameras on top.

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Positioning?

Since there's no GPS indoors, the usefulness might be limited. Can Google's apps triangulate nearby wifi signals accurately enough to tell you where in the building you are?

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Re: Positioning?

no gps indoors????

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@Buzzword Re: Positioning?

In a word: yes

About ten years ago, I saw a final-year college project that did just this using RSSI readings from four strategically-placed WIFI base-stations and a little bit of maths (for later computing graduates: "maths" is a bit like CSS, except you get the same answer every time). It was accurate to within 5 metres.

There are also specialised in-building tracking systems that were even more accurate (e.g. http://www.ubisense.net/en/ ). These need their own infrastructure, but provide better tracking - ideal if you're running a car plant and need to know exactly where a given order is on the production line, without each station operator having to scan it on its way through.

For public applications, the difficulty has always been with the mapping companies getting access to these buildings to survey them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Positioning?

Not just no GPS but maybe no mobile signal either, some of those buildings act like a Faraday cage. I lost my wife in a giant Tesco and couldn't call her mobile (irrelevant I suppose but Tesco is my mobile service provider). I checked the obvious places like cosmetics and womens clothes dept but presumably she was on the move. The dammned place wasn't the normal grid layout of the local shop (search strategy: walk down the central aisle and look both ways at each junction).

I met an old friend I'd not seen for many years but he was no help, he remembered what my wife looked like but that was wife No1 who's probably changed a bit after 25 years, but I've gone through a couple of upgrades since then anyway (version 3 with a few unsatisfactory beta tests in between...).

Unfortunately extensive as the Tesco range is, they don't yet include wives (I moved from the "value" wife, who, just like Tesco's value products, proved a little disappointing but at least the divorce was cheap. I'm now on the equivalent of "Tescos Finest", costs a bit more but quite satisfactory in most respects).

Luckily we both worked out that at some point our journeys would end at the checkout and I found the expected item in the bagging area.

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Joke

Just use the handsets.

There is an easy-ish way to solve this - build the maps using all the Android handsets that are moving around in those buildings.

An option in maps like this:

I want data from my phone (location and camera images) to be used to improve Google Maps. Y/N

Once checked, it could use the images visible whenever the camera is uncovered to build up visualisations street-view style.

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How long

before someone complains that this feature enables terrorist to choose where to plant bombs for maximum destruction/casualties?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How long

Or at least to ensure that the bomb isn't too close to pork products.

Suicide bombers tend to be frowned on by the Almighty if they're covered in a forbidden food.

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Facepalm

Re: How long

Exactly! The Oly^H^H^ Big Summer Event won't be uploading any floor plans because that will allow the EEEEVILLLL TERRRERRRRISTS to plan their attacks!!!

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Pint

I've just uploaded the plans to my neighbours' house. Easy, it's a copy of mine.

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Re: How long

Thanks for making me laugh

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Anonymous Coward

Just how far are Google going to take this mapping thing?

This would provide an explanation for those supposed alien abductions in which the unfortunate victim gets an anal probe. It's actually Google gathering photographs for their forthcoming plan to extend maps to the interior of peoples bodies. For example, you're using Street View and you accidentally click on a person and it shows you... well, you get the picture. :-(

If they do this to themselves, I guess we could say the whole scheme has gone up its own arse...

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