Micello, one of the more exciting startups to debut at the most recent DEMO conference, is a mobile mapping solution that is basically "Google Maps for the indoors." Where traditional mapping services show everything in the world outside, Micello's goal is to map the world's inside spaces - places like shopping malls, convention centers, retail stores, airports, college campuses, and more. Today, the company is launching its service by way of a mobile application for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
The free Micello application now delivers over 250 maps of shopping malls across the U.S. with more being daily. At launch time, the majority of those maps are within the San Francisco Bay area, but the company promised at DEMO that they would have over 5000 places mapped across the country by the end of 2010. However, for those in the supported locales, Micello's free app is going to be a must-have.
The maps created by the company are geo-coded to the real world, allowing you to see their exact location as pins on a map in relation to other area landmarks and infrastructure like roads and parking lots. You can search for a particular indoor map using the included search box (for example, "IKEA") or, once the map is loaded, search within the app for a particular section (for example, in IKEA you could search for "desks").
Another great feature about Micello's application is that the maps are cached for offline use. That's useful for those wanting to save maps of their favorite spots for when they're without a connection - in fact, Micello offers a "favorites" feature that does just that. Plus, it makes sense considering that cell phone reception is often poor to nonexistent when inside large structures. Without a signal, you could be out of luck if it wasn't for this feature. Frequent fliers will also appreciate the app's offline capabilities since they'll be able to scope out the route to their next connection before the captain announces the use of portable gadgets is once again permitted.
For now, Micello is working on building out their map database but they soon plan to integrate other sorts of information within their application, too. Down the road, you'll be able to see data like flight information when you're in an airport map or a conference agenda when you're browsing a map of a convention center. This is where Micello's business model comes into play - the company could charge businesses and other organizations wanting to annotate their listings with additional information.
While Micello is only available as an iPhone application for now, the company plans on offering versions for other mobile applications in the future as well as a Facebook application. Those interested in trying the new service can download the mobile app from here (iTunes link).
Update! Micello tells up they have another 500 malls in the works now and will be adding 50 more today. In total, the 750+ locations will cover a lot of U.S. and some of Puerto Rico. Airports will be next - they'll launch Las Vegas by the weekend and then another 25 in next 2-3 weeks.