Apple Maps will offer maps and directions for indoor locations soon, after the Cupertino tech giant reportedly agreed a deal to acquire mapping company WiFiSlam.
Apple will purportedly pay around $20 million for the company that has developed a means of harnessing Wi-Fi hotspots to determine users’ position inside a building, according to the Wall Street Journal.
By contrast, the GPS technology that is the bedrock of mapping software requires smartphone owners to be outside. This is so the phone’s built-in GPS receivers can calculate their location according to the positioning of a constellation of satellites.
The service, although more germane in the US where vast indoor spaces are more common, the indoor-enabled Apple Maps promises to be something of a boon in the new breed of cavernous shopping malls that now dot the British Isles, as well as larger concert venues.
Apple’s bid to improve its mapping solution comes after it came in for savage criticism when it debuted on the iPhone 5, due largely to inaccurate and out of date information which meant it compared badly with the long-established Google Maps.
Google’s software, seen as the ne plus ultra of mapping solutions and now available as an app to iPhone users, has offered indoor mapping in select locations for some time.