CRF Blog

Map Apps

by Bill Hayes

In Map Apps: The Race to Fill in the Blanks, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that a race is now on among tech companies to map indoor spaces.

Visitors to the sprawling Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore., often grab one of the fold-up maps available at the entrances to the four-story, city-block-size store. Without one, locating a particular genre can be “daunting,” says Darin Sennett, the store’s director of strategic projects. Since April, tech-savvy customers can download a smartphone app instead. Type in the title you’re looking for and check a box to indicate your starting point, and the app displays the quickest route along with turn-by-turn directions. Thanks to the app, “people aren’t using their phones to check Amazon to see if there’s a better deal,” says Sennett. “They’re using them to look at more of our books.” [more]