Thanks to apps such as Google Maps and Waze, getting turn-by-turn directions from place to place has never been easier. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said quite yet for indoor navigation.
Google Maps has been tinkering with it for malls, airports, etc., and we’re likely to see big improvements to this when Google Lens is released later this year. Until then, we now have a new app from Microsoft to play around with called, “Path Guide.”
Rather than using traditional GPS, Wi-Fi, and other infrastructures for providing navigation, Path Guide is entirely user-supported. As per the listing for the app on Google Play, Path Guide, “exploits the ubiquitous geomagnetism and natural walking patterns to guide users to destinations along a path collected by an earlier traveler.”
To record/add a new path in Path Guide, the app will use a combination of sensory data that you add (audio clips, photos, and text) and your walking pattern while moving from Point A to Point B. When these two things are combined, this data turns into a, “reference trace.”
The reference trace is then pushed to the cloud, and other Path Guide users can then search for it to use after the fact. When another user downloads the reference trace that you’ve created, the Path Guide app will compare the sensor readings from that user and the ones you’ve provided in the trace to guide them to their destination from start to finish.
Microsoft says that Path Guide can be used for guiding people from a building entrance to a specific office, directing people how to get to a certain store within a mall, and recording where you parked in a parking garage to an elevator so you can then find your car back when you’re ready to leave.
Path Guide offers one of the most unique approaches to indoor navigation that we’ve ever seen, and you can give it a shot yourself by downloading it from the Google Play Store for free.