Here's The Funny-Looking Backpack Google Uses To Map The Insides Of Buildings




Cartographer, Google's new mapping tool

Google uses a funny-looking new mapping tool called Cartographer to help it generate floor plans for buildings to display in Google Maps.


Cartographer is essentially a hefty backpack equipped with "Simultaneous Localization and Mapping" technology, which can map an unknown space while siumultaneously keeping track of where the backpack is in relation to the rest of the building.

Wearing the backpack, Google employees go to different venues, businesses, and organizations that want their floor plans mapped.

What's the point of getting a detailed floor plan for a building?

Not only could it help you have easy access to a bathroom or an exit, but it could help you find other specific attractions, like a certain store in a mall, or an interesting sounding exhibit in a museum. If you check out one of the maps when you're inside the building, a blue dot will represent your location.


"As fast as you can walk, you can map with Cartographer," explains product manager Sophia Lin in a blog post, "So you can create floor plans for a 39-story building, like the San Francisco Marriott Marquis hotel, in just a few hours!"

Here's a peek at what the floor plan of The Mall Of America looks like:

Google Maps

Google Maps

Today, Google published indoor floor plans for six new buildings (zoom all the way in to the map to see them):

  1. JW Marriott San Francisco
  2. San Jose Marriott
  3. Museum of Children's Arts
  4. Deutsches Museum
  5. Discovery Museum
  6. San Francisco Marriott Marquis