4 of the best indoor navigation apps for Android
Indoor navigation apps are designed to help people find their way around large, complex indoor spaces.
Nowadays we’re all reliant on GPS in our cars and Google Maps on our phones to lead us to our destinations. These solutions are great for getting you from point A to B as long as you’re using roads and highways, but what happens when you enter a large building?
When you’re trying to find your way around a huge space like an office complex, a convention center or even a shopping area, GPS and street-based apps just won’t cut it. That’s where indoor navigation apps like come in.
What is Indoor Navigation Apps?
Indoor navigation apps are designed to help people find their way around large, complex indoor spaces. They work in a variety of ways, but all have the same goal: to create an accurate map of indoor spaces that people can navigate using their smartphones. They can also be interactive and offer extra information about one’s indoor surroundings.
How do Indoor Navigation Apps Work?
Indoor navigation apps use a variety of systems and features in and out of your smartphone to collect information about your surroundings and create a usable map of an indoor space.
In addition to using hardware installed in the surrounding area, modern smartphones have a wide array of onboard features that help achieve this goal. Here are a few examples of things indoor navigation apps use to create their maps:
- Cell Towers
- WiFi Hotspots
- Bluetooth Nodes
- Magnetic Fields
- Map Data
- Predictive Motion
In addition to these, some indoor navigation apps share information that other smartphones have collected about indoor areas to improve the accuracy of their results.
What are the Top Indoor Navigation Apps for Android?
Mapsted is an indoor navigation app that offers a comprehensive solution without the use of external hardware.
One of the main obstacles for indoor navigation apps is that external sources like GPS, cell towers and Bluetooth nodes can be easily disrupted, especially indoors. This can lead to a sub-par indoor mapping service which negatively affects user experience.
Their system algorithmically uses a combination of sources to accurately pinpoint the user’s location in an indoor space. Most of these rely on the smartphone’s built-in technology such as gyroscopes and magnetic sensors. It also has a host of other interesting features such as multi-building and multi-floor support.
- Path guide
Path Guide is an easy-to-use indoor navigation app that relies on user generated data to create its indoor maps. Once a user visits an indoor space and creates a map of it using the app, that data is uploaded to the cloud and used to compile an accurate map for others to navigate.
In this way, Path Guide uses the power of distributed data collection to create its indoor maps. This means that the app does not have to rely on GPS signals, and can create accurate, up-to-date maps using the on-board tech of your smartphone such as the barometer and magnetometer. It also means that the more people use it, the better its map data will be.
- Google Indoor Maps
We’re all familiar with Google Maps for navigating city streets and highways, but did you know that it also contains some indoor maps as well? For some buildings like airports, stadiums, and shopping malls, Google Maps will have information about their indoor spaces, allowing you to navigate them effectively.
In order to have this information available to users, the building must be part of the Google Maps directory. The benefit of this service is that its part of Google Maps, so you don’t need a separate app to use it – and most people already use Google Maps.
Note that it does not operate like Google Maps navigation for indoor spaces (telling you where to turn at which step) but it does show you a path to get to your destination.
- Situm Mapping Tool
The Situm Mapping Tool is a powerful software solution that gives users the ability to map their own buildings and then share them with others. It uses a combination of external and internal features, such as the smartphone’s gyroscope, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi hotspots to create these maps. Using the Situm Mapping Tool, you can record pathways between locations within the building, and then create a path to accurately navigate others through your space.
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