South African mapping company MapIT has created indoor maps of 65 local shopping malls and the country’s nine largest airports. The maps, created in conjunction with partner Micello, will be used in mobile and desktop applications and could allow for location-based advertising by store owners and marketers.
“We’ve got all of the big malls like Menlyn, Gateway and La Lucia covered,” says MapIT MD Etienne Louw.
Micello’s map data adds to MapIT’s range of data, which includes maps from navigation company TomTom along with traffic data and information from geospatial specialist DeCarta. “Micello adds another layer on top of that and extends our capabilities,” Louw says.
One of the challenges of navigating indoor environments is that GPS signals are often poor or nonexistent. Louw says this is overcome by using various components of the phone, including Wi-Fi, accelerometers and other sensors. “We’ve done tests at OR Tambo airport and we’re seeing sub-4m accuracy,” Louw says. “You can provide a pretty precise location at 4m, even if that’s just the nearest aisle in a supermarket.”
He says marketers are prepared to pay substantially higher advertising rates if it’s possible to guide a potential customer to a store.
MapIT is working with a company called Mallinfo to put Micello’s maps to use. “MapIT is an enabler,” Louw explains. “We’re not developing the apps or the advertising, but we integrate all of that and ensure our back end and application programming interface can handle whatever developers want to do with these things.”
Louw believes there’s great potential for growth in location-based services. About 40% of searches from mobile devices include a location component. “It’s about adding value and relevance,” Louw says. “Indoor mapping will offer our clients a whole new dimension to their businesses.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media