Hidden 'Indoor Survey' App Created by Apple Discovered on App Store

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple last week quietly launched a new first-party app called Indoor Survey [Direct Link], which allows its users to map out the interior space of a building using their iPhone. Spotted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith yesterday evening, the app specifically uses radio frequency signals in concert with an iPhone's various sensor data to successfully map an interior location (via AppleInsider).

The app, however, doesn't appear to be entirely functional as of yet. When prompted with Indoor Survey's home menu, after entering an Apple ID and password, users will be met with an Authorization Failed message and be barred from further accessing the app's suggested indoor mapping abilities. The app is also briefly mentioned on a banner within Apple Maps Connect after signing in, asking users to sign up to the indoor mapping initiative if they represent a venue with a handful of attributes Apple is looking for.

"Enable indoor positioning within a venue using the Indoor Survey app. By dropping 'points' on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through. As you do so, the indoor Survey App measures the radio frequency (RF) signal data and combines it with an iPhone's sensor data. The end result is indoor positioning without the need to install special hardware."
The new app could be the result of Apple's purchase of WifiSLAM in 2013. The indoor location company had developed a way for an app to detect someone's location within a building using Wi-Fi signals, which seems to be on par with Indoor Survey's abilities today. The technology is slightly similar to the company's iBeacons software it runs in all of its retail stores, which locates a user's iPhone when entering an Apple Store and updates them on various promotions, classes, and product information.


Currently, Indoor Survey can't be found using the search function on the App Store and can only be discovered via iTunes directly. The app was last updated on October 27, so it had been on the App Store for at least a week before anyone discovered it. The app's description mentions requiring iOS 9 or later with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch compatibility and an 18MB download size.

Article Link: Hidden 'Indoor Survey' App Created by Apple Discovered on App Store
 
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AbSoluTc

macrumors 601
Sep 21, 2008
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Downloaded on my phone. Looks interesting. Hopefully we can give it a go!
 

polterbyte

macrumors 6502
Sep 24, 2012
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Brazil
I hate the way shopping malls are specifically designed to get the customer lost so as to supposedly increasing the chance of a serendipitous purchase or twelve. If this can help me navigate through new (to me) public spaces more easily than by consulting mall maps or asking for directions to mall cops, I for one would be grateful.
 

OldSchoolMacGuy

Suspended
Jul 10, 2008
4,197
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Imagine being able to track your employees....
Many already do. When we built a new building back in 2005, we installed sensors within the walls throughout the $20 million building. Each employee needs a badge to get into the building. The sensors can then track that badge as you move throughout the building. Most don't even know they're being tracked.

It's fairly common for companies to do this.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,855
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Many already do. When we built a new building back in 2005, we installed sensors within the walls throughout the $20 million building. Each employee needs a badge to get into the building. The sensors can then track that badge as you move throughout the building. Most don't even know they're being tracked.

It's fairly common for companies to do this.
I'm aware of the fact that I'm being tracked, but I strongly suspect that 99.999% (perhaps more) of the data is never looked at at all by anyone. The only scenario you actually look at the data is if you suspect someone of doing something, and are then looking back at the data to see if it supports your suspicion.

I suppose maybe if I just walked down the hall and tried to enter every door just to see where I am/am not allowed some automated system might flag me. But at the same time, they aim to hire curious people, and I think a lot of coworkers besides myself at one time or another have tried doing this.
 

Thunderhawks

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Feb 17, 2009
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I hate the way shopping malls are specifically designed to get the customer lost so as to supposedly increasing the chance of a serendipitous purchase or twelve. If this can help me navigate through new (to me) public spaces more easily than by consulting mall maps or asking for directions to mall cops, I for one would be grateful.
There is a reason:

 

surfologist87

macrumors 6502
Aug 19, 2010
273
9
Many already do. When we built a new building back in 2005, we installed sensors within the walls throughout the $20 million building. Each employee needs a badge to get into the building. The sensors can then track that badge as you move throughout the building. Most don't even know they're being tracked.

It's fairly common for companies to do this.
That sucks. No job is worth being tracked all day like a colony of piss ants.
 

ericgtr12

macrumors 65816
Mar 19, 2015
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After your morning bran muffin and cup of coffee, just leave the iPhone at your desk. Some things nobody needs to know about.
 

Kar98

macrumors 6502a
Feb 20, 2007
867
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I hate the way shopping malls are specifically designed to get the customer lost so as to supposedly increasing the chance of a serendipitous purchase or twelve. If this can help me navigate through new (to me) public spaces more easily than by consulting mall maps or asking for directions to mall cops, I for one would be grateful.
Microsoft Maps on Windows Phone 8.1 already lets you do that. There's even a drop down menu for the different levels and a directory.

 

bbeagle

macrumors 68040
Oct 19, 2010
3,406
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Buffalo, NY
That sucks. No job is worth being tracked all day like a colony of piss ants.
It's also for the employee's good too.

For example, it detects an employee in an empty stairwell, motionless, for 2 minutes. Maybe the employee fell and needs help? This will help get emergency response to these people when something like that happens.
 

DynaFXD

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2010
798
366
East Coast
That's not entirely true as I read it. From the article you quoted "Apple does collect anonymous location data from iPhones in an effort to improve its own database of cell tower and WiFi hotspot locations, but that it only does this with user consent." What this MR article talks about is mapping the inside of a house or building. Out in the world, I can see cell providers and Apple/Google/MS rationale for knowing location data. HOWEVER, when I am at home, that is all that they need to know. Nobody should be mapping the inside of my house. Although there is no indication that they currently doing so, learning that they can now get a good idea of a house layout and where the phone is within that house based solely on signal strength (and maybe some accelerometer and smart thermostat thrown in for good measure), is concerning.
 

DynaFXD

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2010
798
366
East Coast
That sucks. No job is worth being tracked all day like a colony of piss ants.
Add to that having to go give blood and urine samples so that they can know what you are doing outside of work too. And holding your social media presence against you if they like. And making you join the company PAC if you want to have any hope for advancement. OF course there are valid reason and conditions for doing the above. But overall, I think a lot of it is just reactionary BS.
 
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