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Indoor navigation: Past, present & future

You needed a briefcase and shoulder strap to carry the the first cellphones.

It might be hard to imagine that the first cellphones were so large they actually came in a large bag with a handle and shoulder strap. That all changed on June 29, 2007 with the launch of Apple’s iPhone. Since then, smartphones have become smaller, lighter and more powerful.

Indoor navigation is following a similar path.

The past

Kiosks—difficult to find and challenging to use

Kiosks are still in use in many malls.

Think of those mall maps near the entrance of a mall. You need to look up the store(s) you want to visit, find your location and then determine how to get there.

There’s often several people in front of a kiosk which means you may only have a few seconds to scan the map or wait until the people in front of you move on.

We’d call kiosks slow, labour-intensive and far from being a good customer experience.

Information desks—slow and busy

Information desks are often busy and limited to the knowledge of staff.

You often have to wait to speak with the person at the information desk and the navigation they provide is not overly helpful if you’re planning to visit several stores in the mall.

It’s also easy to forget the route or get lost if you veer off course.

Again, a poor customer experience.

Text for location—better but not enough

Text-for-location provides a store’s location, but not information on how to get there.

Some malls enable you to send a text and ask for directions. Text for location often provides the location of a store without providing the actual route to that store.

Again, a customer experience that’s far from ideal.

The next step: Indoor navigation on your smartphone

Indoor navigation on a smartphone makes it easy & fast to find a store or destination in a mall.

Indoor navigation delivered through an app on a smartphone provides a much better customer experience. You can easily find the store you’re looking for without sending a text or trying to find an information desk or kiosk.

Mapsted’s advanced technology provides an-easy-to-use route—just like outdoor GPS—that guides you to your store or point-of-interest.

Unlike other indoor navigation platforms, Mapsted doesn’t require Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals. That means you can count on accurate and reliable indoor navigation whether you’re in the lower level of a mall or on the top floor of multi-floor shopping complex.

What’s next? Enhanced indoor navigation through augmented reality

The future of indoor navigation includes the addition of crowdsourcing to map and maintain shopping mall and building maps. The future also includes augmented reality (AR) that adds detailed information about products, promotions, how to find the best prices and product availability.

Augmented reality can add information about sales, pricing and inventory to a real-time image.

No one knows where technology will go in the future. That said, Mapsted remains committed to leveraging advancements in technology and providing best-in-class indoor navigation.


MAPSTED CORP. is a Canadian technology firm that strives to be the global leader and provider of indoor positioning/location services.

Unlike other indoor navigation platforms, our ground-breaking core localization technology does NOT require Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular connections. It can be easily deployed in multi-storey buildings, underground floors and other areas that are generally known as dead-zone locations.

MAPSTED offers a smart mall solution that includes geo-targeted mobile ads and comprehensive shopper analytics—all based on our leading-edge indoor navigation platform.

For more information visit,