Apple wants Maps to help you find the best point of entry to a mall, business, etc.

Apple wants the Maps app on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch to help you find the best way to enter, for example, a mall. The company has been granted a patent (number 10,352,718) for “discovering points of entry to a location.”

In the patent filing, Apple notes that current mapping and navigation applications allow users to browse maps and receive route directions to requested destinations. When a user requests for directions to a particular address, a typical navigation application provides navigation instructions up to a final point on a street or alley close to the requested address. 

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This final point is often created by moving the centroid location or other representative location of the destination to the nearest location on the street. Apple says this providing navigation instructions this way works well for most residential addresses where one can simply park in front of a house on the street and walk to the front door of the house. However, for most commercial entities (e.g., commercial buildings, shopping malls, businesses, stores, schools, etc.), a parking garage associated with the commercial entity is not often right next to the commercial entity. 

For example, an entry to a parking lot of a commercial structure is often some distance away from the structure, or even worse, on a side street, which cannot be easily seen from the final point provided by a navigation application. Similarly, the entrance(s) to a commercial structure might not be easily found from a parking garage, once one parks his/her vehicle in the garage. Apple wants to make it easier for your to find the best entry ways in such instances.

Here’s the summary of the invention: “Some embodiments provide a method for identifying one or more entrances to a point of interest or commercial entity (e.g., a shopping mall, a store, a business, etc.) using crowd sourced data received from a set of mobile devices over a specific period of time. 

“The method identifies one or more points of entry to an enclosed area (e.g., a parking garage) associated with a point of interest (POI), as well as one or more points of entry to a building associated with the POI (e.g., a museum). When a user requests for directions to a particular POI, a navigation application of some embodiments uses these points of entry as the real driving and walking destinations when calculating and displaying a route to the particular POI.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.