Navigate the Smithsonian with Your Phone

July 18, 2012 by

With 19 museums, galleries and the National Zoo in its portfolio, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. is the world’s largest museum and research complex. So it’s no wonder that visitors here can feel a little overwhelmed, and sometimes lost.

But now, luckily, there’s an app for that. Smithsonian recently teamed up with Google to help its millions of annual visitors navigate nearly all of their buildings.

The maps are accessible through the Google Maps for Android—just open the app and search for the museum you plan to visit. Once at the museum, use the “My Location” feature to pinpoint your location and get walking directions to the exhibit you want to see next.

The app shows the position of the user as a blue dot on a map, which is extremely helpful when trying to find your way through 137 million works of art in 2.7 million square feet of curated space. And it even provides information on the exhibits and major points of interest.

But Google’s indoor mapping feature isn’t exclusively for the Smithsonian. A few other museums have been mapped, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the De Young Museum in San Francisco and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The feature has also been applied to airports, resorts and shopping malls, all counting towards Google’s reported 10,000 indoor maps.

Google plans to grow its collection, with SFMOMA, The Phillips Collection, New Orleans’ National WWII Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to be added in the near future.

photo credit: Google

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