LocusLabs takes the challenge of mapping the Great Indoors


Campbell Kennedy has been known to push a baby stroller over every navigable inch of an airport, but the “baby” is a piece of mapping technology.

“It maps out an entire floor plan,” he said.

Kennedy got into the mapping trade when his startup, 510 Systems, acquired Google Street View as a customer; in turn, Google acquired 510 Systems.

Three years ago, he decided to tackle a harder task — indoor mapping – and founded LocusLabs.

“Indoor mapping is harder because there’s no GPS, and things are always being moved around,” Kennedy said.

Apple and Google have been slow to rise to the challenge of indoor mapping on their apps. But at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced a shift in focus for Apple Maps to indoor spaces such as airports and shopping malls.

LocusLabs is working with both Apple and Google to ensure that travelers don’t waste time getting lost in airports.

Kennedy said the two companies provide the “you-are-here” blue dot. LocusLabs tells travelers where “here” is and what is around them.

Major airlines such as American, United and Lufthansa have embedded the maps in their mobile apps, but the management of the information is in the hands of the airport authority. “They control the space,” Kennedy said.

LocusLabs can help you find a sandwich or tell you how to get to your terminal, “but we’re just scratching the surface,” he said. The company is working on “a slew of enterprise applications,” several of which depend on the user having opted in to allowing the airline to know his or her location.

For example, “if you know there’s no way you’re going to make it through the security line in time, you can make other arrangements,” Kennedy said.

Conversely, if the app can tell you that your transfer to another terminal won’t take long, you can relax a bit.

As for those lounge dawdlers who so often hold up a departure, Locus can tell them when it’s time to get a move on.

Next on Kennedy’s to-do list is expansion to Europe. He’ll be spending the summer researching locations for a new office.



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