Data Management

Top 4 Uses for Indoor Mapping in Commercial Spaces

People spend the majority of their time indoors, but all of the conveniences of GPS are cut short once inside. Enter: indoor mapping.



The Global Positioning System (GPS) has changed how we live, work, and play. GPS provides directions to your kids’ soccer games, or helps emergency responders locate a 911 caller, but -- and it’s a big “but” -- GPS does not work indoors. People spend about 90% of their time indoors – shopping, traveling, working or in school, and all of the conveniences of GPS are cut short once inside.

In our outdoor environment, we depend on the government to tell us where roads are, to create the addressing system, and to provide provision points of interest based on building permits. The indoor environment is very different to navigate since the information collected and managed is almost exclusively privately held. Each building you enter has its own floor naming convention, addressing system, and points of interest. Until recently, there has been no standard way of exchanging this information from the building owner/operator to business, as well as no consumer applications that can leverage it.

Several large technology firms are now collaborating on the development of standards to make sense of indoors data such as building spaces and geometries, tenant registers and contracts, and maintenance processes. Apple, Google, Nokia, Esri, Microsoft, and others are building their environments to support the exchange of geospatial data related to indoors – primarily to fuel their app ecosystems and/or to support the emerging Internet-of-Things (IoT) capabilities offered by building automation systems.

Spatial DNA has been working with indoors information and IoT since 2014. We have developed a data curation system to connect to the systems that manage indoors data – CAD, BIM, Facilities Management Systems, wayfinding networks, and sensors. Indoors data curation is the process of extracting information on indoor spaces, tenants, and systems to populate and update an indoors data exchange model – Apple’s IMDF, Nokia’s Venue Maps, Esri’s ArcGIS Indoors, or Microsoft’s Digital Twin, Indoor GML, and others.

Here are four uses of Indoor Mapping information:

Real-time real Time Tenant Updates

The building directory is like a 411 or white pages service for the building. Keeping this information up-to-date, along with the actual unit location of tenants is critical to tenant satisfaction and retention. The tenants’ customers and clients need to be able to find their location quickly and easily. Leveraging indoor mapping data that includes tenant location information, buildings’ digital directory services mobile app, and public mapping apps from Apple and Google can enable people to quickly find a tenant space.

Keeping a building’s developments, whether it be long- or short- term, up-to-date and shared with occupants in a timely matter is also essential for tenant satisfaction and retention. Reports such as the following can be tracked with indoor mapping software:

  • Renovations
  • Updated Leases
  • Optimized Indoor Routes
  • Loading Docks
  • Emergency Stations
  • Parking Instructions

Crucial information such as facility locations, accessibility ramps, and entries and hazards can be distributed and mapped to tenants and visitors through indoor mapping applications on mobile phones or digital facility directories. The accessibility features in a commercial building are also critical for following ADA standards. By properly communicating these features to tenants and visitors, you can seamlessly improve ease of navigation and customer service.

Space Utilization

Indoor maps form the reference framework for the collection of sensor information from people-tracking sensors, as well as building automation sensors for temperature, presence, and equipment. To enable IoT services in a building, the venue is broken down into its constituent levels, and each level sub-divided into spaces (rooms) and corridors (movement areas). IoT devices then collect information on presence and movement leveraging various technologies such as computer vision, WiFi and BLE beacon scanners, infrared counters, floor or desk sensors, and other techniques.

Space utilization identifies capacities for each space and the performance of each space through collected observation data and its actual use versus designed capacity. Additionally, traffic flow patterns showing where people congregate and how they move through space can inform the fit-up and design changes to space. Indoor mapping can report on various infrastructure modifications. These events need to be communicated to tenants and visitors to mitigate risks from the traffic flow. These types of revisions require accurate data and statistics to make educated decisions for enhancing the space, as well as identifying resource-saving opportunities when developing.

Behavior tracking data such as traffic flow, dwell time and unique visitors can help you optimize your space so your tenants and operation members can travel from point A to B with ease and speed. This will create overall improvements with time management and enhanced efficiency. It will also enable you to understand the movements and behavior of your customers and employees, to make better decision making when evolving your building.

Facility Management

A workflow for a commercial space could be reporting on:

  • Hazards
  • Building Maintenance
  • Removations
  • Security Issues
  • Statistics Reports

These Workflow reports need to be communicated to both operational managers and tenants in real-time. When certain circumstances arise, such as a hazard or a security risk, it is crucial that the information is processed and assigned in a timely, and organized matter.

Other instances like building maintenance requests, such as managing equipment repairs and complex maintenance schedules, can be easily managed through the use of 3d mapping visuals with automatic notifications. Geospatial data tracking in your indoor space will also allow you to keep accurate statistical reports on the functionality of your building, which will help you problem-solve for future developments.

Indoor mapping will allow maintenance crews to have full visibility of exactly where their next job is, and the most efficient route to get there. Through beacon and mobile tracking, building managers can track the speed in which maintenance crews complete jobs, to further optimize scheduling and reporting.

Improved Customer Service

One of the biggest improvements you will see with indoor mapping is your ability to create enhanced and innovative customer service features. Picture a customer walking through a shopping center, and coming across a digital billboard that shows them which stores have busy wait times by tracking traffic flow. Or imagine receiving a mobile notification that pings when the aisle you are walking down has a reported hazard. Even the most basic of wayfinding processes can be enhanced by enabling a customer’s Google or Apple maps to provide indoor directions and guidance for any building.

Take your commercial business from the past of basic Wayfinding practices to the future of digital indoor mapping solutions. With indoor mapping, you can find your way around that bustling airport, or report in real-time to your tenants or customers about the renovation in the west wing, and even optimize your offices to create more desk space for your employees. Spatial DNA can help you to coordinate and manage all of your digital assets, to create indoor GPS, optimized business solutions and improved workflows.

For more information on how you can integrate indoor mapping solutions for your commercial space, contact Spatial DNA here:

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