I was a judge again this year at SJSU’s Neat Ideas Fair. It’s a student innovation contest that is open to the public. Two companies this year addressed a rising trend that I call micro mapping. “Kart Buddy” helps grocery shoppers create a route in the store matching their shopping list and “Airport Buddy” helps travelers navigate airports. I predict this will be huge in 2010.
Micro mapping is like Google maps for indoor or off-road locations.
Eventually you could be guided everywhere we go. As my friend and fellow Neat Ideas Fair judge Paul Fazzone said, ‘these ideas can help customers find stores faster’. This makes these tools highly monetizable, which is good for the entrepreneurs. This is a mobile trend.
Some pioneering micro mapping applications are already available:
I think there is lots of space for further innovation. Here are use cases I can think of:
- Grocery: How can I do my work grocery shopping in the fewest steps possible?
- Airport: I’m running late, how do I get to terminal 4 gate 6 the fastest, and do I have time for a Starbucks?
- Downtown: I’m downtown, where is the nearest restroom?
- Lane Assist: I’m pulling a trailer and needs to ensure I get in the correct lane at this upcoming highway junction (Garmin is working on this)?
- Campus Mapping: Where is building 2 at the Googleplex?
What micro mapping use cases can you think of that would improve your day-to-day?