Micello maps the indoor world

If Google only takes you to the mall, Micello--a mapping platform for the indoor world--can take you inside.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
Micello brings indoor maps to mobile devices. Rafe Needleman/CNET

SAN DIEGO--At DemoFall 09, the second demonstrator on the stage (and the first interesting one) was Micello, a mapping platform for the indoor world. As the company pitchmen say, Google Maps takes you to the door, Micello takes you inside.

It's good for maps of malls, resorts, stadiums, and other complex architectural spaces. The platform also has a data layer that lets users search for content, for example, "shoes" in a mall.

On stage, the presenter showed how the maps can overlay on top of Google Maps and how the user can switch between them on a smartphone.

It makes for a killer demo, but the real guts of the company is the procedure for creating the indoor maps. You can't just drive a camera car down a mall, and even if you could, you wouldn't get the data layer needed to make this work. Micello claims it can create a map in about four hours from standard sources, like a JPG of an existing map. Then it matches it to the global coordinate system so it can overlay it on other, wider-angle mapping systems, like Google's.

The technology missing from Micello, of course, is indoor positioning. GPS isn't accurate enough indoors to direct you to the shoe store you want. The execs say that as that technology develops, though, its own services will become even more valuable.