Museums tend to be monolithic, winding spaces that – despite having a set flow to the rooms – are surprisingly easy to get lost in. If you’re in a hurry and just want to check out your favorite wings, good luck deciphering the paper map that condenses three stories onto one page. But those problems will soon be obsolete thanks to Google’s indoor maps.
Google has added more than 20 US art and history museums to their indoor map catalog and plan to add more soon. They’re even inviting museums to create virtual indoor maps themselves. Here’s a bit about the project from TechCrunch:
Google announced today that it’s adding the indoor maps for over twenty U.S. museums to its Maps app on Android. The museums added include 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, the company says, as well as the Smithsonian National Zoo. …
Today’s release may only include a subset of the nations museums, but Google says more are on the way. Specifically, it lists the following as coming soon: SFMOMA, The Phillips Collection, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Other museums can choose to take matters into their own hands and use the Google Maps Floor Plans tool to upload their own indoor maps for inclusion.
Read the full article at TechCrunch >>>
Here’s where the in-the-wild testing part comes in. Despite being bastions of history, museum floor plans tend to change quite often. Maybe not the whole floor plan, but almost all museums have a wing or two dedicated to limited-run special exhibits. And depending on the museum’s focus and location new wings are added every now and again, which can change around a good part of the museum’s layout (Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts opened a new two story wing recently).
So visitors or museum personal will constantly need to walk through the museum with the Google indoor map to ensure it stays up to date. The map won’t be terribly effective if visitors looking for Abstract Expressionists end up in the Italian Renaissance room.