Thursday, December 15, 2011

Indoor maps from Google roll out at airport

Android phone users killing some time at Charlotte Douglas International have a new option for finding shops, aside from wandering from through the concourses: Google Maps.

The Indoor Maps feature from Google is one of the search giant's latest offerings. It's being rolled out so consumers can pinpoint their location in malls and airports (and so Google can send them even more precise location-based advertising straight to their phones).

The maps of the inside of the Charlotte Douglas passenger terminal can be used to guide customers to their gates, locate restaurants and retail shops, and find all seven of the airport's Starbucks if you're desperate for a pre-flight caffeine fix.

Google also has indoor maps for participating department stores, malls and some additional airports, as location-based searches and directions move more rapidly onto hand-held devices. A few years ago, such services were exclusively the territory of dashboard-mounted GPS units for your car; now, you can use some of the most advanced technology in history to guide you straight to the footwear department at a retailer.

Currently, you'll have to have an Android phone to try out the new Google indoor maps. Given that about 75 percent of the Charlotte airport's 39 million annual fliers are passing through and catching connecting flights, not locals, Indoor Maps could prove a welcome service.