With the help of a "secret weapon", visitors no longer have to worry about navigating the world's largest single building for conventions and exhibitions during the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
To guide you in the right direction is a navigation application freshly developed by Liu Erwu, a professor specializing in information and communication from Tongji University and his 20-plus-strong team.
The app, or Naviguy, for navigation at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai), is part of the CIIE official application that can be downloaded onto smartphones in advance.
Because of the special shape and size of the expo venue, visitors can easily get lost at the 1.47 million-square-meter megastructure, and signs, though helpful, may not offer accurate guidance, neither can the traditional positioning resolutions such as GPS and Wi-Fi in such a complicated environment, said Liu.
"As such, a navigation application in a complex indoor environment with state-of-art technology is required," said Zhou Yang, a manager with the information technology department of the NECC (Shanghai).
According to Liu, the app's special algorithm has taken all the positioning elements into consideration to provide users precise positioning with virtual reality features.
Naviguy can direct the way even in extreme conditions when the phone is on airplane mode as long as it has the positioning and bluetooth options on, according to Liu.
The app is the outcome of an enthusiastic and highly motivated team, Zhou said. One member of the design team Qu Xinyu went through three pairs of shoes in three months as he walked around the NECC numerous times to measure and confirm exact locations in the exhibition center.
The app is also viable outside the exhibition center.
"For visitors who have completed their tour of the CIIE, they can continue to use the application for traffic guidance to their destinations in Shanghai, either by public transportation, taxi or other modes of transport," said Zhou.
The app also includes functions allowing visitors to preview online exhibition halls, find out details of the exhibition, access high-speed free Wi-Fi and get real-time translation between Chinese and English, Zhou added.
"Through the application, we look to make the CIIE a digital expo, allowing visitors, exhibitors and buyers to get all the relevant information and secure services through a smartphone," Zhou said.