We first reported that Google Maps was going indoors last November, letting Android users navigate their way around the inside of buildings such as airports and shopping malls.
Indoor Google Maps had only been available in the US, Japan, Switzerland and Canada before the UK launch last week, and now it’s expanding the service to include a slew of well-known cultural establishments Stateside too.
Indoor maps and walking directions mean you can now plan your route from exhibit to exhibit, identifying points of interest along the way, and also helping you to find your way between floors.
Which ones have been added? Well, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cincinnati Museum Center, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and 17 Smithsonian museums — and a zoo too.
So, all you need to do is open Google Maps on your Android smartphone, zoom in to the location you’re at and the indoor floor plan will appear, as if by magic.
For museums where the information is available, you’ll see where you are on the map with a blue dot. From here, you can search for a precise location within the building. The directions from then on work in a similar way to how they work when you use Google Maps outdoors, giving step-by-step instructions on how to get from A to B.
“More museums are adding their floor plans to Google Maps for Android soon, including the SFMOMA, The Phillips Collection, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans,” writes Cedric Dupont from the Google Maps for Mobile team.
“Along with the Google Art Project, indoor mapping is one more way we’re working with museums to bring greater access to revered cultural and educational institutions around the world. Tap into the latest version of Google Maps for Android in Google Play, and enjoy exploring the art and science of the great indoors,” he continues.
Anyone who owns a museum can upload their maps and floorplans for inclusion in Google Maps.