152 metres long, 27 metres high and 78 metres deep – built in the mid-19th century, the building of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek with its impressively designed staircase is spacious, but has also a fair amount of nooks and crannies. Several reading rooms, a broadly differentiated spectrum of local services – from interlibrary loan to the copy services: It is not always easy to find your way around at first go.
The app "BSB Navigator" can help you. Thanks to modern beacon technology, the indoor navigator can guide you through the listed building in the Ludwigstrasse in Munich. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is the first German library to offer such a software for smart phones to its users. When the app is installed on the smart phone and Bluetooth is activated, navigation can be started by touching the "Take me there" button. During the navigation, information about services and sights of the library can be obtained by activating push messages, if desired.
Functions of the app
The "BSB Navigator" offers a range of options and special functions:
- An interactive map includes all accessible levels and floors of the building: The levels can be freely selected and the user's current position can always be indicated on the display of the smart phone.
- A real-time indoor navigation that guides the user from his/ her current position directly and accurately to the selected destination in the building.
- An "Explorer Mode" pointing out objects, places and other points of interest in connection with the library to the user when he/ she walks past them.
- A tour function guiding the user through the library on a previously selected route along certain points of interest. Currently, the user can choose between two tours: the "General guided tour" for first-time users and the "Sightseeing tour" that points out the tourist highlights of the Staatsbibliothek.
To be able to use the app for navigation inside the building, so-called "beacons" are required, since GPS navigation does not work inside buildings. Over 240 of these emitters of a size of around 2 centimetres have been distributed over the premises of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. They emit signals via Bluetooth Low Energy at regular intervals, ascertaining the current location of the app users. The use of beacons was tested within the framework of a students' project of the Chair for Applied Software Engineering of the Technical University of Munich and has gone live in the form of the iOS app "BSB Navigator".
"Scholars, university and school students, the general public or tourists – the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has a very heterogeneous group of users. The app now offers everybody the opportunity to proverbially strike a new path. On the one hand, since the "BSB Navigator" guides our users accurately through the house. On the other hand, since with the indoor navigation the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek offers an innovative service that has been unique so far in the German-language library field", explains Dr. Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.