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Google Maps has added 20 popular U.S. museums to its collection of over 10,000 indoor maps, including the de Young in San Francisco, 17 Smithsonian museums, and the National Zoo. The project entailed significant collaboration between the Smithsonian and Google.
Millions of visitors are now able to electronically explore the museum interiors and pinpoint their location within the building. For those who have been hopelessly lost in a labyrinth of contemporary sculpture or desperately searching for Ancient Egyptian artifacts, the ability to navigate with a smartphone is a welcome relief. That’s especially true considering the mapped space consists of 2.7 million square feet and hundreds of clickable points of interest. Walking directions are also available, as well as guidance towards bathrooms and food.
The partnership is mutually beneficial for both Google and the museums. It complements the Google Art Project goal of making cultural and educational institutions more accessible, and contributes to the Smithsonian’s efforts at modernizing the vast collection and bringing the visitor experience into the 21st century.
Google and the Smithsonian will continue to work together to increase the level of exhibit detail and map features. Indoor Maps is currently available on Android phones and tablets and will continue to add locations around the world.