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Step inside, please: Google launches indoor maps in UK

With millions of extra visitors expected in London later this month (there’s a rather big sporting event taking place, if you hadn’t already heard), Google’s UK launch of its indoor mapping service couldn’t have come at a better time.

The service, which has been available for some US locations since last November, works on Android devices and provides floor plans of a number of popular London tourist spots, as well as some of the capital’s biggest department stores, train stations and airports.

Visitors to the mind-bogglingly huge British Museum – one of the largest museums in the world – are likely to find the online map of its floor plan indispensable, as will anyone wandering about the recently renovated St. Pancras International train station.

“You’ll no longer need to feel clueless when you’re at the railway station, trying to figure out where to buy a coffee before you rush to catch your train from platform 11; nor will you feel embarrassed about asking for the lingerie section when you’re in the department store – because you’ll have all the answers in the palm of your hand,” a post on Google’s Lat Long blog said.

To bring up the interior layout of a building, all you have to do is zoom in on the location using Google Maps. Once you’re in close enough, the floor plan will appear on the screen. If you enable the My Location feature, your precise whereabouts will be shown with the familiar blue dot.

Thirty-five London locations (plus five airports throughout the country) are currently mapped, though that could grow rapidly as Google has provided a link for building owners to upload their own floor plans.

With British weather known for its abundance of rain, visitors may well find themselves indoors more than out, in which case Google’s new service could prove a fabulous time saver.