Wearable cartographic tech enables people to map the insides of buildings just by walking around.

Online maps and Google Street View are pretty crucial tools for getting somewhere. But once you're there, figuring out exactly where to go can sometimes be a challenge. Is room B624 in the basement? A building called B? On the 6th floor?

Soon, hopefully, confusion like this will fade away.

As we recently reported, efforts are growing to create indoor maps of buildings, especially in Seoul. Though Google already offers indoor maps of places like shopping malls and convention centers, the technology hasn't spread. A new device under development at MIT could change that.

According to MIT, the future of indoor mapping could be a new prototype they've developed. It's a wearable vest equipped with a stripped down camera from the Microsoft Kinect video game system that can scan a 270-degree arc as it moves through an environment. The setup is also outfitted with accelerometers, gyroscopes and a barometer to track the shape and form of the mappable space as the walker moves around.

This video explains further, and shows how a 3D map of an indoor area can instantly develop as a person wonders through a building.

And while mapping out where the Cinnabon is inside a shopping mall may be important to some people, the researchers at MIT see more important uses of this technology – from rescue scenarios to situations where hazardous materials has leaked inside a building or facility. The U.S. Air Force and the Office of Naval Research also supported this research, which indicates they may see some non-civilian uses in the future.

Image courtesy Youtube user MITNewsOffice

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. a map of future climate risks in the U.S.
    Maps

    America After Climate Change, Mapped

    With “The 2100 Project: An Atlas for A Green New Deal,” the McHarg Center tries to visualize how the warming world will reshape the United States.

  2. photo: a Tower Records Japan Inc. store in Tokyo, Japan.
    Life

    The Bankrupt American Brands Still Thriving in Japan

    Cultural cachet, licensing deals, and density explain why Toys ‘R’ Us, Tower Records, Barneys, and other faded U.S. retailers remain big across the Pacific.

  3. photo: a commuter looks at a small map of the London Tube in 2009
    Maps

    Help! The London Tube Map Is Out of Control.

    It’s never been easy to design a map of the city’s underground transit network. But soon, critics say, legibility concerns will demand a new look.

  4. Perspective

    Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

    In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

  5. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

×