Navteq Hopes to Take Navigation Indoors

Nokia-owned Navteq has launched Destination Maps, which will add more detail to indoor maps, starting with large shopping centers, the company said on Monday.

Destination Maps includes the layout for stairs and elevators, as well as the ability to handle different floor levels. A feature called Virtual Connections provides better guidance by recognizing open areas. There are also restrictions to prevent users from being sent to emergency exits, according to Navteq.

Initially, Navteq will focus on mapping large shopping centers in the U.S., but plans to extend the product to include other types of indoor spaces. Currently, Destination Maps covers more than 200 of the largest shopping centers in the U.S. Future expansion plans also include coverage in Europe and Asia, Navteq said.

The concept of indoor mapping and navigation is still relatively new, and related software doesn't perform as well -- for example, offering less exact position information -- as outdoor navigation. However, the industry is working to change that, and Navteq is hoping the launch of Destination Maps will help spur that on, according to a spokeswoman.

Better maps and improved indoor performance will open the door for more advanced location-based services. For example, just like users today can be kept abreast of traffic jams, Destination Maps and future indoor positioning technologies will be able to warn them about crowded restaurants, according to Navteq.

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