Apple has an Indoor Survey app on the iOS App Store, designed to help pinpoint locations inside a store, restaurant or other business – but it doesn’t show up in a search, and you need to register in Apple Maps Connect to download it.

By dropping “points” on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through. As you do so, the indoor Survey App measures the radio frequency (RF) signal data and combines it with an iPhone’s sensor data. The end result is indoor positioning without the need to install special hardware … 

The app was spotted by developed Steve Stroughton-Smith.

It’s likely the app is intended for use by businesses using the Apple Maps Connect service, which allows them to add and edit entries appearing in Apple Maps. Update: This has been confirmed by a banner in the Apple Maps Connect service inviting businesses to register for the app. Apple Maps entries cover everything from gas stations to stores, restaurants and hotels, and Apple began soliciting indoor mapping partners for the service a year ago.

The idea would be that, once you walk into a store, for example, Apple Maps would be able to direct you to the section or department you need.

The app may well have been developed using technology created WiFiSLAM, a company Apple acquired back in 2013. The tech uses WiFI signals to track the location of smartphones within buildings, and is a good match for the functionality described by Indoor Survey.

Apple also last year hired the founder of Wifarer, another indoor mapping company, and holds a number of patents related to indoor positioning.

Thanks, Branch

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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