Bringing a 360 view to the moving map

As one of the most popular features on any inflight entertainment system the moving map offers a direct path to all manner of passenger interactions. Newer generations of the maps are adding ever more features and no platform is evolving faster on that front than the FlightPath3D solution. Indeed, it seems that 3D might no longer be enough. At APEX EXPO earlier this year the company showed off its FlightPath 360 product, adding a new layer of visual detail to draw travelers in to the platform.

We had rich satellite footage combined with street maps and destination content. And now we’re welcoming you to the world of 360 degree, panoramic, immersive views of major destinations around the world.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson focused on the visuals the new map layer offers during the demonstration of the product. And, indeed, the imagery is impressive. But the real win comes not only in having those available but integrating them into the portal’s ancillary revenue ecosystem. Rather than just exploring the cities on the maps FlightPath wants travelers to explore them on the ground, hopefully through a tour or other event that sells tickets or services via the map.

Indeed, this is key to FlightPath3D’s value proposition to airline partners. The map serves as a base to support the other applications. This started with interactive Point of Interest (POI) details – data easily preloaded into the system on the ground – but Jackson believes much more is coming; the map is simply infrastructure for the experience. “I like to look at the use cases of ordering rides and looking at hotel information, consuming services…”

The POI integration today is a natural fit for such upsell options. Click on the icon for a sports arena and get details about the team’s record and schedule, with an option to purchase tickets. Ditto for music venues (e.g. the Sydney Opera House or Carnegie Hall). Answer a trivia question correctly about the Statue of Liberty and maybe receive a token discount on tickets to visit the landmark.

Even more impressive is that most of these transactions can be processed on board with minimal or zero connectivity to the ground. Lufthansa Systems‘ BoardConnect suite is pursuing a lightweight connectivity platform using Iridium NEXT as the bandwidth channel, for example. Integrating that with the FlightPath3D kits would enable 100% of the real-time transactions Jackson described. Even without that connection, however, some bookings are viable, with confirmation delivered once the flight lands. Requests made in flight can be batched and processed over a terrestrial connection once on the ground, generally completing before the aircraft door opens at the terminal.

FlightPath3D is not the only company pursuing this type of imagery for a moving map solution. PXCom highlighted a similar offering earlier this year, with live camera views rather than stored imagery.

The live aspect is very cool, especially during the takeoff and landing phases of the flight. But it lacks the retail and informative components that bring value to the FlightPath version of the moving map kit.

More from APEX Expo 2017

Seth Miller has over a decade of experience covering the airline industry. With a strong focus on passenger experience, Seth also has deep knowledge of inflight connectivity and loyalty programs. He is widely respected as an unbiased commentator on the aviation industry. He is frequently consulted on innovations in passenger experience by airlines and technology providers. You can connect with Seth on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .