Google has activated the Live View feature in Google Maps at Zurich Airport, making it the first airport in the world with this function.

Passengers looking for a gate, restaurant or check-in desk at Switzerland’s Zurich Airport now have access to Google Maps’ Live View feature, which uses augmented reality (AR) to deliver improved navigation.

The new feature is the result of a project launched by airport operator Flughafen Zürich and Google Switzerland in 2018 to improve intuitive navigation "from kerb to gate". Recordings made of the interior of the airport, as well as exterior areas of retail and F&B venue The Circle, can now be used in the Indoor Live View function of Google Maps. Using Google Maps Live View, the recordings are compared in the background with the user’s camera images to show the correct route in augmented reality view. 

Live View uses AR cues and is powered by a technology called global localisation that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to scan tens of billions of Street View recordings to understand the user’s orientation. Thanks to new advancements that help determine the precise altitude and placement of objects inside a building, Live View can now also be used inside buildings such as airports. Arrows and accompanying directions point the user in the right way.

Google Live View uses augmented reality cues
Zurich Airport is the first in the world to use Google Live View
2021 Flughafen Zürich AG

To use Google Maps Live View, users launch the Google Maps app, enter their destination and select the "Live View” symbol, which looks like a compass needle. The smartphone camera then opens and the route, plus other key information, is shown directly in camera mode.

“Google Maps Live View is a valuable aid in helping our passengers, who are often not familiar with the airport and may speak a different language, to find their way around even more easily,” said Stefan Gross, chief commercial officer, Flughafen Zürich

New Google Maps functions and navigation are planned for Zurich Airport in 2022.