Apple has quietly released a new iOS app that allows users to map out the interior spaces of a building using just an iPhone.
Update: The app requires a special, registered account in order to be used. It’s unclear who will be able to obtain such a thing.
The app’s description reads:
“By dropping ‘points’ on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through. As you do so, the indoor Survey App measures the radio frequency (RF) signal data and combines it with an iPhone’s sensor data. The end result is indoor positioning without the need to install special hardware.”
Apple bought the start-up wifiSLAM two years ago, and with it the company’s ability to analyze and track RF signals from Wi-Fi access points to maps and determine a user’s location. It seems like at least some of that expertise has crept into Indoor Survey.
Apple’s been experimenting with a series of indoor positioning technologies over the past few years, testing its iBeacons in retail stores and inviting retailers to to submit indoor maps of large, successful stores for use in Apple Maps. Using Indoor Survey to crowdsource indoor maps may finally make them a more common addition to the world of digital navigation.