Amid escalation, Israeli navigation app maps out nearest shelters

Unlike other mapping applications that require GPS, the Tel Aviv-based company’s patented crowd-mapping technology enables users to navigate both indoors and outdoors.

By
August 27, 2019 04:32
2 minute read.
 Rockets are launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel,  Israel August 8, 2018.

Streaks of light are pictured as rockets are launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Sderot, Israel August 8, 2018. . (photo credit: AMIR COHEN - REUTERS)

Amid rising security concerns in southern Israel, indoor navigation start-up Navin has included the locations of all bomb shelters and protected spaces across the city of Beersheba in its smartphone mapping application.

Unlike other mapping applications that require GPS, the Tel Aviv-based company’s patented crowd-mapping technology enables users to navigate both indoors and outdoors, and even provides comprehensive maps of indoor venues.

Indoor “security mapping” is necessary, the company says, as people often know the locations of their university classrooms or favorite stores by heart, but aren’t aware of the location of lifesaving shelters and the routes that lead to them.

The mapping in Beersheba includes a number of major buildings in the city, including Ben-Gurion University, the Negev Mall and the Grand Canyon Mall, in addition to shelters throughout the city. The project is currently being expanded to additional locations in the country, and has already started mapping shelters at Tel Aviv University.

“I recommend that residents do not wait, heaven forbid, until a real emergency, but rather learn beforehand the safe places in the buildings in which they spend time, especially during a period of escalating violence,” said Navin co-founder and CEO Shai Ronen. “Just as we all know exactly how to act in our own home in case of a siren, it is advisable to act the same in public places. We invite users to add shelters to the app in the buildings that they visit.”

Based on crowd-sourced mapping, the Navin application can immediately identify the location of a user inside a building, including the exact floor, enabling navigation inside stores, hospital departments, university facilities and more.

Detailed walking routes are presented to users, including the use of escalators or regular stairs, with regular updates based partly on information provided by users. In order to find their nearest protected space, users are requested to simply search for “shelter” in the application’s search bar.

Co-founded in 2011 by Ronen, a former air force navigator, together with communication technology veteran Gidi Barak and experienced radio-frequency engineer Lior Ronen, Navin expanded its services to the United States earlier this month.

The company commenced American operations by mapping public buildings in San Francisco, including the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores, major shopping malls, IKEA, the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.



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