An Experimental Feature of Nearby Explorer iOS
Nearby Explorer™ is a full-featured GPS app for iOS® and Android™ devices that empowers you to independently explore with confidence – iOS version now features Indoor Explorer!
Nearby Explorer™ is a powerful location exploration app that uses onboard maps; it includes complete maps for the United States and Canada covering millions of points of interest (POIs). Nearby Explorer uses GPS and your phone’s compass to speak real-time information about your surroundings. It also displays maps on the screen that provide audio feedback with touch.
Indoor Explorer: Indoor Navigation Made Easier!
Indoor Explorer is a new feature of the Nearby Explorer iOS app, now available in an experimental version. In the future, the Android™ version of Nearby Explorer will include Indoor Explorer. Indoor Explorer helps you navigate within supported venues that have been mapped and equipped with beacons. This exciting new feature has similar functions to the outdoor Nearby Explorer — it allows you to independently learn about the location of entrances, rooms, elevators, restrooms, and more and then navigate to those locations.
Indoor Explorer makes use of beacons and indoor information stored in the OpenStreetMap® database. The app looks up the beacon’s latitude, longitude, and floor number. It also looks up points of interest on that floor of the building and reports their name, distance, and position as you move, or it lets you use the GeoBeam or Compass feature to point your device to locations inside the building. When using the app indoors, the compass, in addition to reporting the direction, names all the building features in that direction.
Indoor Explorer allows detailed navigation within buildings that have been mapped and equipped with beacons.
Beacons for Indoor Location
Indoor Explorer takes advantage of small beacons that periodically transmit brief bursts of data. The app can correlate each beacon’s identification with information about its precise location. Indoor Explorer uses this information along with the signal strength of the beacon and other beacons that may be in the vicinity to help determine your location. Once the app has a location, it can access points of interest (POIs) just as it does with the outdoor features.
Indoor Explorer Is Here, Free to Purchasers of Nearby Explorer!
APH has released a free update to Nearby Explorer for iOS that includes an experimental version of Indoor Explorer. The number of buildings that have currently been mapped and equipped with beacons is small, but growing. We are interested in feedback from users about this exciting new technology!
WARNING: When walking, Nearby Explorer/Indoor Explorer should be used along with a sighted guide, dog guide, or cane because it does not provide sufficient information to act as a substitute for your preferred O&M method.
Example Indoor Explorer Beacon Installation
Floor Plan, Crescent Hill Branch Library, Louisville Free Public Library
- Beacons are strategically placed on walls and their location is mapped.
- Beacon signals its location to user’s phone.
- App gathers information about the indoor environment from OpenStreetMap®.
- App compares the beacon’s location and signal strength with the? map to determine the user’s location and points of interest (POIs).
Detailed image description for screen reader users
Floor plan of an example installation of beacons for use with Nearby Explorer’s Indoor Explorer feature. Floor plan is the lower level of the Louisville Free Public Library Crescent Hill Branch Library. Beacons are located in these areas: Nonfiction Room, Audiobooks Reading Room, Computer and Reading Room, Meeting Room, Restrooms, and Elevator. A figure of a person moves through the library with a smartphone that is using Nearby Explorer. A wave graphic from a drawing of a beacon indicates that the beacons and smartphone communicate with each other. At a first location, the Nearby Explorer voice says: “Audiobook Reading Room Lower Level, 20 Feet North.” At a second location, the voice says: “Audiobooks Reading Room Lower Level, 5 Feet East.” An additional graphic to the lower right of the floor plan shows a silhouetted figure holding up a smartphone. There is an enlarged image of a yellow beacon emitting waves, indicating communication with the smartphone.