Image: LocusLabs

LocusLabs’ terminal maps help travelers find their way at the airport. Images via LocusLabs

APEX Insight: Travelers roaming through the terminals of McCarran International Airport can now find the most direct route to their boarding gate or the California Pizza Kitchen with LocusLabs’ blue-dot navigation available through American Airlines’ mobile application.

Get lost at McCarran International Airport and find yourself through blue-dot navigation, now available through American Airlines’ iOS mobile app. The news was announced at FTE Global, held at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas last week. Created by San Francisco startup LocusLabs, which specializes in indoor search, maps and navigation, the in-app feature uses Apple Core Location to provide passengers with turn-by-turn instructions for finding their boarding gate or the airport’s California Pizza Kitchen.


The blue-dot terminal map inside United Airlines’ mobile app.

“With blue dot, we can give customers turn-by-turn directions from their current location to their gate, the nearest Admiral’s Club Lounge, or let them search for shops and restaurants within the airport,” states a LocusLabs press release.

Its functionality is similar to calling up directions in Google Maps. With the GPS on their smart devices switched on, travelers simply tap or type in what they are looking for and the app displays the way to the destination. Depending on the positioning services available at the venue, some will even allow real-time repositioning to reorient travelers who are walking the wrong way or getting side-tracked by unplanned stops.

“The magic of positioning services is that it provides accurate ‘current location’ and orients your position on a map allowing for ongoing routes from where you are,” says Jack Loop, director, Engagement, LocusLabs. “By design, LocusLabs functions with any positioning technology supported at any venue. In the case of American Airlines and Las Vegas McCarran, that is the Apple Core Location service indoors.”

Having worked at the company that developed Google Street View, CEO and cofounder Campbell Kennedy adopted a similar approach for LocusLabs’ mapping technology, minimizing the need for airports to supply technical drawings from their GIS department, which Loop says, “are often out-of-date or incomplete.”

But there are further advantages to LocusLabs’ terminal maps than just getting travelers from Point A to Point B. Integrated with third-party apps, it enables travelers to locate their ride-share drivers more quickly and order in-airport food deliveries, bringing American Airlines one step closer to their vision of providing a seamless door-to-door travel experience. So instead of going to the California Pizza Kitchen, maybe that slice of Original BBQ Chicken pizza can come to you.

American Airlines currently offers blue dot at the following airports: Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Phoenix (PHX), San Jose (SJC) and now LAS. Other LocusLabs airline clients include United Airlines and British Airways.

Caroline is managing editor at APEX Media.