Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LocalMaps or MicroMaps - an idea for maps at the "micro" level

In Aug'09, I went to the IGI Airport (DEL) to pick a friend who had flown to Delhi, and who had a few hours before she took a connecting train to her final destination. After parking my car at the parking, I wondered where the Arrival terminal might be!

I digress for a moment.

What does one do when one is in Gauteng and wants to drive to Kruger National Park? Simple, one feeds Kruger National Park into one's GPS device and the device guides one to one's destination. This is an example of mapping at the macro level.

I think we also need maps at the micro level - maps that work inside large airports, large entertainment parks, large shopping malls, etc. I name such a feature LocalMaps (or MicroMaps).

Back to IGI. Had there been such a feature, my phone would've sensed that it's inside an area that supports LocalMaps, and would've automatically asked me to either choose (from a list discovered by my phone in that zone) or search for a person, place or product (or service) I'm interested in (in that zone). As soon as I would've started typing Arri, the phone would've suggested Arrival Terminal, and choosing this option would've either displayed (or spoken) the direction in which I should start moving (towers in this zone would've helped my device to pinpoint its location within the zone, and to suggest directions).

I believe LocalMaps can save people time when they're inside large, well-defined areas. Looking for a specific Axe item at a huge shopping mall? Type Axe into the search and you'll be told not only about the availability (and price, etc.) of the item, but also the direction in which you should move to get to the item. Order the phone to check if a friend is inside the same mall, and you'll be told both the answer and the direction, if applicable, to get to him/her. Inside a Pick n Pay store but unable to locate a particular product? Worry not, for you can query the location of the product.

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