Q1: What is Path Guide?
Path Guide is a research project from Microsoft Research Asia, driven by years of research on mobile computing, pervasive computing and intelligent perception. It provides a completely plug-and-play indoor navigation service that does not require maps or any additional equipment. In Path Guide, users can create routes by recording sensory data with their smartphones while walking indoors. Location-specific features extracted from sensory data are combined with users’ walking patterns (e.g., steps, turns, going upstairs or downstairs) to build reference traces that can be pushed to the cloud and shared with others for navigation purposes. During navigation, Path Guide compares and synchronizes sensor readings along a trajectory with a reference trace, and guides the user, in real time, from starting location to final destination. In this way, irrespective of incomplete map information, Path Guide can navigate users to any point of interest (PoI) as long as the PoI has been visited and recorded by another user.
Q2: How to record a trace?
In Menu, go to Trace Recording where you can see two recording modes. If you want to navigate someone else from one location to another, please choose mode 1 (network connectivity will be needed for trace share). If you want to record a trace to later navigate yourself back to the start location, please choose mode 2.
Q3: Can I add more information into a trace?
Yes! During recording, you can add custom annotations (include text, image, and audio clips) into the trace. For example, you can take a picture of a landmark on the path, or leave an audio message to call followers' attention on something.
Q4: How to share a trace in Path Guide?
Once arrived at the destination, you should press the lower right blue icon to terminate trace recording and then see the trace share page. Please fill in the blanks about the details of the trace. Once uploaded, your trace is visible to the public and can be downloaded from Search. If you login to the app, you can choose to share the trace with others. Just type in their email addresses in the To: area. Don't worry, those who are not Path Guide users will receive an invitation email with detailed instructions on how to follow the trace. Please also don't forget the Contacts function. :)
Q5: How to follow a trace?
In Menu - Inbox, you can see all traces you downloaded from other people. Traces recorded by this device can be found in Menu - My Traces. Select one trace from either of these places, and you will see the departure information and a trace summary. Once arrived at the start location, you can press the lower blue button to start following. Please don't forget to check the start point picture to make sure your start position and facing direction are correct.
Q6: Can I follow my own trace?
Yes! In share page, you can share any trace with yourself. Also, if you want to record a trace to later navigate yourself back to the start location, you can choose "Follow back (reverse)" in the share page. For example, you can record a trace in a parking structure (e.g., from your car to the exit) to help you trace back to your car. All reverse traces will be saved locally and can be found in Menu - My Traces - Reverse.
Q7: Does Path Guide support cross-level traces?
Yes! You can record and follow a cross-level trace using smartphones with build-in barometer. Path Guide supports staircases, elevators and escalators. Can't wait to try? Go ahead!
Q8: How to calibrate the phone sensors?
Move and rotate your phone in an eight shape to calibrate sensors.
Q9: How to search for traces?
In Menu - Search, you can search for traces by title, building address and location. You can also search for a trace using the trace link (see Q10 below) inside the app. Destination buildings related to the query will also be displayed in search result page. Feel free to click the icon in the upper right corner to filter the results.
Q10: Can I share a trace from Path Guide?
Absolutely! To share a trace to someone (even not a Path Guide user), simply click the upper right icon in Trace Summary page and choose "Share link". You can copy and send the link via SMS, Emails or IMs to allow anyone view the trace in a web browser. You can even search for a trace using the link inside the app!
  • Keep the phone flat in front of your body during trace recording and following.
  • Properly calibrate sensors according to the instructions before recording and following.
  • Make turns with right angles. Feel free to walk straight on paths with smooth turns.
  • Walk at a slow pace.
  • Minimize your movement when waiting for the elevator and inside an elevator.
  • If you find any bugs, inappropriate content, or should you have any suggestions, please contact us at navsupport@microsoft.com.