Smartphones like the iPhone and Android devices revolutionized personal navigation with GPS and Google Maps, making it easy to navigate to anywhere you want to go. The one big omission? Indoor support.
GPS, the technology used to pinpoint your location on the globe, requires line-of-sight to satellites in the sky. It doesn't work indoors and even the tall skyscrapers in large metros can cause problems for reception. To combat this, phone designers have used other technologies like Wi-Fi radios to triangulate indoors. Typically, this gives a low level of precision, far less accurate than GPS.
Google, a constant pioneer in mapping technology, started working in earnest on indoor maps this past January, using this technology. With a heavy mesh of Wi-Fi base stations inside a building, the system can, reasonably accurately, determine your location just like it would with GPS. A preview of that support is available on Android but it's not widely deployed and not available on iOS as of yet.
This morning, The Venetian announced a new version of their iOS and Android app that includes similar technology to provide indoor mapping and navigation for people wandering around the MEGACENTER complex. I haven't tested it yet myself but it looks pretty great... or at least the idea is great, if it works.
This is an important moment. Eventually, indoor mapping will be something that users come to expect but for now, it's an 'oh wow' feature as people realize they never have to wonder how to get to the restaurant for dinner again.
I'm looking forward to a lot more of this sort of thing and the minute that it's practical for Vegas Mate, expect to hear more about the details.