Smartphone Apps To Navigate Indoors

An App that lets you navigate inside a store or mall may sound silly at first, until you recall that time you were just trying to find a colander... A smartphone typically use a couple of methods to "know" where it is. The cell towers from which it receives it's signal can be used to broadly determine it's location (i.e. you are in the south east part of a city), whereas GPS can locate to (usually) within a few yards.

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GPS needs "line of sight" though, the phone needs to be able to "see" the GPS satellites, so you need to be outside for it to work. Google is heading up a consortium of companies to come up with the best method to accommodate the mapping  of indoor spaces.

It could be something like triangulating off of known WiFi hotspots within a mall, or maybe a Bluetooth type of solution. Android devices and iPhones are different in what they may be able to use too, iPhone developers are not allowed to have the iPhone scan for WiFi signals, while Android devices can.

Another level to this is where a particular store might also provide things like guides to daily specials and so on, and possibly targeting App users according to their known preference (hmm, Minority Report anyone?). There are already apps available for several big box stores such as Home Depot and WalMart that can help you find items within the store by aisle number, which is a start.

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