What appears to be Apple’s first indoor positioning app has appeared on the App Store ahead of its official unveiling. It’s called Indoor Survey, and it allows users to pinpoint their position within a building using their iPhone’s sensor data.
“By dropping ‘points’ on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through,” the app’s description reads. “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.”
Apple has been working on indoor mapping technologies, and patented a number of them, for many years. The company has also acquired indoor mapping companies like WifiSLAM, and hired those with expertise in this field, like former Wifarer CEO Philip Stanger.
The Indoor Survey app, which was spotted by Steve Troughton-Smith, is thought to be part of Apple’s mission to bring indoor mapping technology to iPhone, giving users the ability to report their location from inside buildings and venues, and to navigate them using indoor maps.
Apple has also provided iOS developers with sample code, dubbed Footprint, that demonstrates how they can transition between outdoor mapping systems that read latitude and longitude to indoor mapping systems that use MapKit.
The company also offers iBeacons, which are used in its retail stores to provide customers with information, special offers, and more over Bluetooth.
It’s not totally clear what Apple’s plans are for Indoor Survey at this point, but it seems the company was hoping to keep it hidden for now. The app does not appear in App Store searches, but can be accessed and downloaded using the direct link below.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much with Indoor Survey once it is installed on your device; it will prompt you to login using your Apple ID, but attempting to do so throws up an “Authorization Failed” error.
If you want to try it out anyway, we recommend you download it now; Apple will almost certainly pull this app as soon as it notices they people are downloading it. Note that the app requires iOS 9 or above, and is only available in English, Chinese, and Japanese.
- Indoor Survey