updated 03:15 pm EDT, Fri April 6, 2012
Adds "You are here" location to indoor sites
Google has released a new tool to help vendors who have uploaded floor plans of their indoor venues to Google Maps show customers their current location on their smartphones with greater accuracy. The Google Maps Floor Plan Marker app collects positioning data from multiple sources (free, (Google Play). Visitors to the venue who are running Google's My Location feature on their Android phone are then provided with a "blue dot" icon to show their precise position, even indicating which floor they are on. The marker app is currently available in English in the US.
Google began offering indoor mapping and floor plans in November. The new marker tool builds upon that capability. To take advantage of it, a venue owner must first have uploaded a floor plan to Google Maps for Android. They then must load the marker app and perform a walk through of their premises. Along the way, the app gathers location data from GPS satellites and nearby cell towers and public WiFi networks. The resulting information is then used to provide a more accurate orientation to the visiting individual.
Google has not given any indications when the marker tool would be available outside the US or in additional languages.