Friday, April 30, 2010

Next challenge for location industry: mapping the great indoors

VentureBeat says the "demand is there. Companies like Yelp which provide reviews of restaurants and bars, or Milo, which points to the best deals, could do with more precise directions. Right now, the information can point consumers to the entrance of a shopping mall but won’t tell them how to find, say, the the specialty cosmetics store inside it.

Some companies are trying to provide maps of the indoors — Point Inside are all doing this in various ways (e.g. working from blueprints or measuring locations themselves). But these approaches are difficult to scale. How do you produce these maps not by the hundreds, but by the thousands (the United States alone likely has over 40,000 “places of interest”) quickly and cost-effectively, and then maintain them?

Industry players acknowledge a need and an opportunity for a middle-man company able to provide aggregated indoor maps and distribute them for other developers. If there was a place to get these maps in a uniform and consolidated way, developers would absolutely take advantage of it and build value on top of that!