The University of Minnesota and Tango create mapping tool for indoors

I love to see Minnesota get selected for cool technology projects –and being able to map indoors based on reading from the drone with a camera is pretty cool. The Line does a nice write up of the project…

Earlier this year, Google selected the University of Minnesota’s MARS Lab as its primary academic partner for Project Tango, a high-profile indoor mapping initiative that has been compared to Google Maps. The selection came with a $1.35 million grant and a directive to explore—and expand on—the possibilities of a prototype smartphone capable of creating 3D maps of indoor spaces. Google’s only other academic partner on the project, Washington, D.C.’s George Washington University, has a much smaller role.

And the MARS project published a video that makes is much easier to understand…

But cool as it is, this is one of those times that I have to ask about the purpose. Why do we need to map the indoors? Of course the fire department and other public safety departments might like to have maps of building and home before they enter. And I’m sure once the data is collected, it can give directions like Google Maps and maybe using the maps and a drone to scan rooms during a fire would help to search for anomalies in the rooms that could be people left behind. But I also see a huge issue with privacy. I don’t really want my house mapped. And it seems pretty easy for anyone to get a drone and deploy an app like this to map public places and some of those folks might have less than noble goals.

That being said. It is cool.

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    Ann Treacy's picture
    Ann Treacy

    Ann Treacy lives in the Twin Cities. For work, she writes about broadband in Minnesota. After hours she write about travels and adventures around town.