Digital maps have become a vital part of most smartphone users’ lives, and an invaluable resource for field techs. The jury’s still out, however, on the utility of indoor mapping, but the kickoff of Google’s new indoor mapping service is a great opportunity for techs to test drive the young technology.
Google, whose Maps product revolutionized how people get directions and get around, unveiled a service earlier this month to provide floor plans for several dozen locations in the U.S. and U.K. – mostly stadiums and museums and malls.
Indoor Positioning System (IPS) technology allows an Android device to figure out exactly where it is inside of a building by communicating with land-based transmitters, rather than satellite communications. That gives a more precise location once inside the building.
“You’ll no longer need to feel clueless when you’re at the railway station, trying to find out where to buy a coffee before you rush to catch your train from Platform 11,” said Razia Ahamed of Google in a blog post announcing the program. “Nor will you feel embarrassed about asking for the lingerie section when you’re in the department store – because you’ll have all the answers in the palm of your hands.”
Jumping to the next train and shopping for lingerie is great and all, but what does this mean for those who spend their work days driving vans from building to building, constantly searching for the correct location inside? Well, not much – at least for now.
The better question is what could this mean for those in field services. While searching for the lingerie department doesn’t justify field service employees’ use of IPS (unless they’re into that sort of thing, I guess), the potential for more complex IPS mapping holds great promise. For instance, city sewer mapping could help sanitary maintenance employees keep sewer mains in proper working order, or tend to disasters more easily when they strike.
In the meantime, some field service workers could use IPS on a smaller scale, such as inside apartment buildings when making repairs. Down the road, IPS could prove to be advantageous for those working in more intricate areas.