Today Bing added 400 shopping mall maps as part of a larger “venue maps” (indoor mapping) effort. A minor but useful addition to Bing Maps (especially if the initiative expands), users can now zoom in on any of the included malls and see the stores and related details for the various tenant retailers.
This is the expansion of a product enhancement that was first introduced last December.
It works both online and at m.bing.com, although I had some difficulty finding a mobile example this afternoon. Below is an example from the PC version of Bing Maps, a mall map for the San Francisco Centre:
Each store is listed together with contact details.
One can quickly imagine promotions or deals being overlaid on top of these maps. One can also imagine a richer “branded” experience, with logos, product inventory and images, interior photography and so on.
On a related note, Microsoft is working with Gigwalk in a deal that uses the latter’s crowd-based workforce to capture local business information and interior photography in eight metro markets: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle.
Accordingly there are some very interesting possibilities suggested by Bing venue maps. A number of other companies including Point Inside, Micello and Fast Mall are also creating interior and mall maps.
The “great indoors” is a kind of new frontier in LBS.