Sunday, July 19, 2015

Naver Indoor Maps (실내지도)


It looks like Naver will soon feature indoor imagery, much like Google Maps does with its Indoor Maps.

Naver has announced that they will be providing indoor maps for 328 major transportation and business facilities nationwide.
Using Naver indoor maps, one can get information on the location beforehand, avoiding the chaos occurring in crowded and complex areas. Users can find out where the nearest customer centers, elevators and washrooms are, and for certain buildings, a 360 degrees panoramic view of the inside is provided, allowing the user to see what it actually looks like. [Korea Bizwire]

That's great, but in fact I already find Naver's indoor mapping to be very useful. A quick Google search seems not to turn-up any info about this in English, so I'll tell you a bit about it now.



Naver's Indoor Maps


You might not have noticed this feature, but when you zoom-in on Naver Maps on an area that has an underground shopping area, the underground portion will be boldly highlighted in a different color (on desktop) or outlined in red (on mobile). You can then click that area (desktop) or tap the "실내지도" button that appears (mobile) to have that portion of the map change to the interior (in this case, underground) mode. This is great for those laberyinth undergound shopping centers that are easy to get lost in, especailly if you think to yourself "Where was that convenience store I noticed the other day?" Don't spend time wandering; Naver it and it will return results for within the underground shopping areas.

Here's an example. Let's say you're looking for that Tony Moly hair shop in Gangnam Station (토니모리 강남역).

You can search it on Google Maps, and it appears in the results (I'm actually a little surprised, well done Google!), indicated by name (if you read Korean) that it's located in the Gangnam Underground Shopping Center. But here's the problem: If you walk to that location on the surface streets, you'll likely never find it. It's underground. You can't really be sure where exactly it is, based on this map. It looks like it's just here at the intersection somewhere.

토니모리 강남지하상가점 on Google Maps
If you search it on Naver, you will get the exact result, and Naver's Map will switch to its underground map so you can see exactly where it is.

Here's an animation to show you what it's like to zoom-in on this location. At the end, I tap on the store location, and a link pops-ups, showing me information about the store like hours, phone number, nearby bus stops, etc. This is a feature I want to see in Google Maps. Too often tapping the map in Google does not bring up information for places clearly visible on the map tiles themselves.

Naver Maps animation of zooming-in to the underground market stores at Gangnam Station
This is a great way to explore the underground shopping areas, to get your bearings before getting lost! And especially good for locating that place you saw while walking through but couldn't remember now where it is!

Also like Google, Naver offers floor-by-floor maps of important multi-storey buildings. Just zoom-in and the same 실내지도 will appear, letting you choose which floor you want to browse. For example, here is an animation I made on Naver Maps looking through the floors of the COEX center.

Floors of COEX center on Naver Maps

So, the addition of real visual imagery for indoor locations is nice of course, but don't forget the powerful features already present. Too often I see expats in Facebook Groups asking things like "Does anyone know which exit in the underground market the Ediya Coffee is near?" But with a few clicks, you can find it and even save the location yourself. So don't be scared. Give Naver Maps a try.

And for a nicely-done look at the many other map features of Korean portal sites, check out the post:
The two Korean portals have also introduced a few features I haven’t seen elsewhere. We’re going to look at some of them, see how to use them, what they can be used for, and some neat things you can do with them. [Korea.net - Exploring Korea with online maps]

No comments :

Post a Comment