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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  1. alpine

    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.

    1. Richard 81

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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?

        1. Another Justin

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

            1. wowfood

              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.

    2. Piro

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      merely charts?

      Expect a downvote from every passing sailor

      I think you should reconsider your terminology.

    5. cs94njw

      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.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  3. Adrian Jones

    Kings Cross

    Has at least got Platform 9¾ labelled.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kings Cross

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

      1. Thecowking

        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.

      2. dotdavid

        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.

        1. vic 4

          Re: starting from 1

          Starting from 0 seems perfectly reasonable to me.

          1. dotdavid
            Thumb Up

            Re: starting from 1

            A true computer scientist's answer ;-)

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

            1. Archivist

              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 ;-)

              1. dotdavid
                Facepalm

                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...

                1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
                  Coat

                  Re: starting from 1

                  So does the Circle Line stop at Platform Pi?

  4. Mog0
    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.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      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.

  5. Keep Refrigerated
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Olympic...?

      "freakily accurate"

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

    2. Tom Wood

      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".

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Olympic...?

        You said olympics - stone him.

        1. wowfood
          Megaphone

          Re: Olympic...?

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

        2. johnnytruant

          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"

  6. squilookle
    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.

    1. Thecowking

      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.

      1. Miek
        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.

    2. Doc Daneeka
      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

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      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.

    4. Cpt Blue Bear
      Thumb Up

      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.

      1. Eguro

        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...

        1. Thecowking
          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*

          1. Bill Ray (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.

  7. Real Ale is Best

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

  8. Buzzword

    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Positioning?

      no gps indoors????

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

    2. Kristian Walsh

      @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.

  9. S4qFBxkFFg
    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.

  10. adnim Silver badge

    How long

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. adnim Silver badge

        Re: How long

        Thanks for making me laugh

    2. Graham Marsden
      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!!!

      1. Marvin the Martian
        Pint

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

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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...

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Search "Google Body"

  12. vic 4

    none are the supermarkets

    That would be a full time jobs for a team of people for a large chain, everytime I go into those near me everything has been rearranged. Unlik ethe local hardware shop, I can tell my wife over the phone the exact aisle/location on the shelf where anything is. Try that in a supermarket and you'll be sprinkling washing powder on your cornflakes.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nice....

    little Clash reference there.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish zoos and such would do this

    While I understand why shopping malls would salivate over the chance to be in Google ("Consume and reproduce. Stay asleep.") I'd like to see more zoos and museums do this - especially if they make the appropriate links to the displays (e.g. the bears cage links to info on the bears, the Liberty 7 exhibit links to the restoration information, etc. - bonus for zoos with webcams on the animals).

    1. Narlaquin
      Coat

      Liberty 7

      Liberty 7? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury-Redstone_4 )

      I don't think we're in Kansas (Cosmosphere and Space Center ) any more, Toto.

      Mine's the one with the Ruby Slippers.

  15. Werner McGoole
    Joke

    How long...

    ...before miniature Google drones, like humming birds, are flying in through open windows to map the interior of your property as they surreptitiously seek out USB ports to slurp your data nectar from...

    Of course, this could only happen if one of their rogue programmers slipped up again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: USB Humming Bird Drones

      Wow!

      I'd tick "Allow" just to sit and watch them.

  16. Britt Johnston
    Pint

    works just fine

    I typed in "hershey bar" into Google maps, and the nearest one is 200 km away in Munich.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: works just fine

      My nearest Mars Bar is in California. I'm in India. Google doesn't know the way

  17. Justin
    Thumb Up

    Where this will be REALLY useful

    Never mind the Olympics, please can you ask IKEA when they will be uploading the data for their stores. The places I really need a SatNav are in Milton Keynes, and inside IKEA. Especially their Wembley store.

  18. Harry

    Re: Turkeys voting for Christmas

    "It gives Google the keys to shows ads based on nearby shops and your location. "

    And yet, many many webmasters *already* give google and the like the ability to track their customers and offer the adverts of competing suppliers, by incorporating externally hosted third party code and spyware services in their sites.

    I suspect the webmasters' bosses never bother to look at their own company's site with noscript and are therefore completely oblivious how good their site might be at introducing their potential customers to their other competitors.

  19. Madboater

    Lets hope suppermarkets

    realise its a good idea nad upload maps soon and before they realise the reasons why it isn't a good idea for them.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    America

    Most building inspection departments in local government have the blueprints for new construction-- I think these are accessible, but don't know if they are public domain. Since this practice started decades ago, many houses/businesses/stores have prints available *somewhere* in a government office.

    Makes targeting that home made autonomous spybot with a camera all that much easier.

  21. MrHorizontal
    Facepalm

    Why?

    I can only see one single use case for this... to tell Londoners who go to a Tube station they don't know particularly well which end of the platform the exit is nearest. Is that really worth the time and effort to map everything?

    While I'd normally say only mad people would share floorplans of their houses, unfortunately it probably means 80% of today's society where common sense is a totally alien concept...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about Terrorism (TM)

    If I take pictures inside a building, I'm likely to be Gitom'd faster than a bung getting transferred to a corrupt politico's offshore bank account, but Google apparently has no problems.

  23. Bruce Krulwich

    Loads of others working on it....

    Google may be the first big player to bring maps indoors, but there are dozens of major companies and over 35 start-ups also working in the space. The race doesn't always go to the fast.... http://www.grizzlyanalytics.com/report_2012_05_indoor.html

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