Microsoft’s Path Guide makes indoor navigation easy
Microsoft’s new app can help users find their way inside a building using custom routes shared by their friends or other users
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Finding your way in malls, airports, museums, libraries or huge offices can be tricky, especially if you haven’t been there before. To help users navigate their way inside buildings without bothering others for directions, a number of navigation apps have started offering indoor direction-finding tools. Google rolled out indoor navigation in Maps early this year and recently Apple announced indoor location for malls and airports in its Maps app.
Microsoft has found a unique way of helping users find their way inside any building through an app called Path Guide. Developed by Microsoft’s Asia Team, the app is free to download and is currently available on Android devices only.
How does it work?
Unlike Google Maps, it doesn’t show directions on a map. It saves routes by counting the number of steps, saving landmarks using camera images, text or audio recordings.
Users can record the directions for any location inside a building and then share it with their friends or other users within the Path Guide app.
To record a route and share it with others, go to Trace Recording option in the app menu and tap on the first option on the screen. You will need active connection to use this.
As you walk towards your destination in the building, the app will record the number of steps, turns and floors. You can add an image or text at any point to highlight a landmark. Once a route is saved, you can fill in the detail boxes about the location and address. The saved routes will be automatically made public and can be accessed by anyone on the app by typing the relevant keyword.
You can also share the route via email by typing the email address of the recipients in “To:” area tab while filling the details of the route.
If you are not very good with directions and wish to save a route for your personal use, tap on the second option in the Trace Recoding page. This works offline and the saved route will only show in your app inbox. You can use it to find your way the next time you are inside that building again.
Why should you try it?
We noticed a few disruptions while recording a route, when the internet connection was disrupted. But overall, recoding a route is simple and smooth. The app provides tutorials to help users understand all its nuances. Path Guide can become the next big tool for indoor navigation but needs a bigger user base for access to more locations. Until then you can use it for personal use or helping friends find their way inside a building.