Posted by: crudbasher | November 30, 2011

Another Step Towards Virtual Field Trips

Ah Google. The giant vacuum cleaner of information. It’s interesting to watch how there isn’t a single piece of information they don’t want to index.

The latest addition to Google is an indoor map addition to Google Maps. Right now it’s only on Android but it’s only a matter of time before it becomes open for everyone. This will allow route planning to go door to door in the future.

As far as field trips, it will allow exploring foreign places.

Imagine this near future experience:

(cc) Stuck in Customs

A teacher guides a virtual field trip for a class of US students each equipped with iPads. They going to explore the theater district in London, England. They can navigate around the virtual model and see how it is now. Their view incorporates live information thanks to web cams, photos and videos taken at that location. They can even connect to other data sources to see photos from the far past so they can see how locations change.

Where it gets really cool, is their teacher has loaded a lesson into their iPads so as they walk around, it will give them tasks and puzzles to figure out. It also keeps track of where everyone is so they can see each other’s virtual avatars as they move around the area.

Let’s say they walk over to a newsstand. The iPad will access the newsstand’s website and show the current issues of each book and magazine. They can then click on a virtual book and get the option to buy the ebook version. Every location they visit, connects to everything Google has related to that location.

What we are seeing here is a convergence of the real and the virtual. The more information Google scoops up, the more things you can do with it.

    • Google has begun mapping indoor establishments like malls, airports, and retail stores, and today added the first indoor maps to its application for Android. Now, air travelers don’t have to bother with information booths and freestanding maps: Google Maps can show the way to their gate or the nearest coffee shop or bathroom. Turn-by-turn directions aren’t provided, but the maps will show users where they are in relation to nearby landmarks.
    • While Google worked with these businesses to ensure a certain level of precision, the search company also set up a do-it-yourself site for other business owners to upload floor plans, blueprints, and directories and line them up with satellite images.
    • We asked Google if Indoor Maps will work on desktop Web browsers, but were told that “the new indoor maps feature of Google Maps is only available on Android mobile devices at this time.” Microsoft, by the way, already has indoor mapping of major malls for Windows Phone and indoor mapping of airports and malls for the desktop.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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