Indoor mapping can be leveraged in so many unique ways. In this article, we’ll take a look at 23 indoor mapping use cases across a variety of industries.
Because of how ubiquitous outdoor positioning systems are, we often take it for granted. Can’t seem to find the restaurant you’re looking for? Check your GPS apps. Don’t know how to get where you’re going? Enter your destination into Waze and let the app do the rest. Worried about your safety in transit? Uber lets you share your real-time location with a friend.
With GPS-enabled devices right in our pockets, finding your way around is no longer an ordeal. In fact, our reliance on location technology becomes even more obvious when you go to a place that doesn’t have it – indoors, for example.
For all of its usefulness outdoors, GPS doesn’t work well inside structures. Think about the last time that you got lost in a large shopping center or office building. Wouldn’t it be great if your phone or mobile device could tell you exactly where you need to go and how to get there?
Indoor mapping software is similar to GPS in the sense that it can accurately track a person’s location. This “blue dot experience” can help users navigate complicated buildings with the same ease that we navigate the outdoors.
Indoor positioning and indoor navigation work together to create a seamless indoor wayfinding experience for users. Indoor positioning systems can pinpoint a user’s exact location within a building, and if a user strays from their path, the navigation will update automatically to guide them back on course.
The indoor navigation system provides users with spatial context and turn-by-turn directions inside a building. Paired together, these technologies help users find their way around indoor locations.
As these location-based services improve, more and more businesses are realizing how indoor navigation can benefit them. In this article, we’ll take a look at 23 indoor mapping use cases across a variety of industries.
3D object capture technology provides a quick and easy way to create 3D models of real-world objects or environments. For instance, you can walk around a room, scan it with a piece of equipment that has LiDAR sensors, a camera, and other sensors on it, and turn it into a digital asset that can be used in many different applications.
One way to use this technology is with indoor mapping. There are many applications where if you don’t have a building blueprint or floor plan to start with, you’re not able to create a map. Capture technology solves this problem, as you can create a floor plan by scanning rooms with a specialized piece of equipment or with a mobile device using an app built using Apple’s RoomPlan API.
Apple’s Object Capture enables Apple device users to create realistic, accurate, and fast 3D representations of objects. Using photogrammetry, you can turn a series of pictures taken on your iPhone or iPad into 3D models that can be viewed in augmented reality.
Using an app that harnesses Apple’s RoomPlan API, you can scan rooms to create a map — which is an exciting new application for indoor mapping! Apple’s RoomPlan API uses the camera and LiDAR Scanner on an iPhone or iPad to create a 3D model of a room from which a floor plan can then be derived.
We used Apple’s new RoomPlan API to create a 3D map that we can turn into 2D and import into our indoor mapping platform. We walked around the Mappedin office, scanned it with the RoomPlan API, and created a 3D model containing walls, windows, doors, and furniture including tables, storage cabinets, chairs, and more.
We then used that 3D model data to generate a 2D map with a top-down view that can be imported into the Mappedin CMS — our tool that allows users to further edit the map and keep it up-to-date. Think of this as an alternative method for quickly importing map data instead of drawing it by hand.
Apple capture technology enables you to create that initial map, whether it is in an office or any other indoor space.
Apple's newer generation products, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and iPad Pro feature a built-in LiDAR scanner. This means that you will have access to capture technology on your mobile device if you purchase one of the mentioned iPhone or iPad products.
With the Apple Object Capture Swift API, you can build a 3D model from scratch. To start, you have to download the sample iOS app to capture the images of your real-world object. To get the best experience, Apple recommends using a turntable to capture the object, however if you don’t have one, you can slowly move around the object instead. You must also be in a well-lit space.
Powered by Apple’s ARKit, RoomPlan is a new swift API that uses the camera and LiDAR scanner on an iPhone and iPad to create a 3D floor plan of a room, which includes characteristics such as dimensions and types of furniture. To get started, you must update your apps to support the new feature and use the sample code provided by Apple.
There’s even more you can do to improve the customer experience. You can set up notifications so that they’re triggered when a customer walks into a predetermined zone. For example, alerts for new movies or discounted tickets could be sent when they pass by their favorite cinema. Using indoor positioning for location-based marketing is another way to drive purchases and improve customer loyalty.
Indoor positioning can also be used for contact tracing to help create safer workplace environments. On top of that, by enabling wayfinding, asset tracking, and contact monitoring through IPS, buildings can create a network of connected devices and experiences.
Indoor positioning technology can be beneficial for management as well. Location tracking can give you insight into customer journeys. You can learn more about how users move throughout the mall, which areas are most crowded, and even how long they spend in different stores – all of which can help with crucial decision-making for your mall, stadium, or other venue.
In order to target a user based on their current location, businesses can tap into GPS for outdoor environments and indoor positioning for buildings. There are a variety of technologies that can be used, including beacons, Wi-Fi, RFID, and geomagnetic, to understand the real-time position of moving assets or devices.
Asset tracking is a common indoor location tracking application, and an excellent use case for indoor mapping. Asset tracking refers to the method of tracking physical assets, including inventory, machinery, people, or devices. Asset tracking provides building owners and operators with valuable information to streamline their business operations and increase efficiencies.
Indoor mapping works hand-in-hand with asset tracking as a way to visualize the various data points. To ensure the most accurate data is collected and displayed, these indoor maps should be kept up-to-date as floor plans, layouts, and building structures change over time.
One of the most popular and pervasive use cases of indoor navigation can be found in shopping centres. In fact, if many malls have implemented indoor maps in the last 5 years, and chances are you’ve likely used one to locate a store.
Indoor positioning systems (IPS) help to take it a bit further. You don’t need to look for an interactive map or kiosk to find your way around. When we implemented Mappedin in The Dubai Mall, we added a 3D interactive map to their mobile app so that customers could find any location inside the mall.
There’s even more you can do to improve the customer experience. You can set up notifications so that they’re triggered when a customer walks into a predetermined zone. For example, alerts for new movies or discounted tickets when they pass by the cinema.
Indoor positioning technology can be beneficial for management as well. Location tracking can give you insight into customer journeys. You can learn more about how users move throughout the mall, which areas are most crowded, and even how long they spend in different stores – all of which can help with crucial decision-making for the mall.
Another use case for indoor mapping is in retail. You can create an in-store map that guides the shopper throughout your grocery store with real-time turn-by-turn navigation. Users can simply type in the product that they’re looking for, and the app will provide them with the best route to direct them to the correct aisle. You can even enhance the user experience by including more details in the indoor map, such as prices, stock, and promotions.
Store associates will find indoor positioning useful as well. Saving time and money by optimizing shopping routes to help your workers fulfill orders more efficiently.
Indoor mapping solutions can tell visitors exactly where their seats are, show line lengths at different points, and guide them to the right location. Important elements like bathrooms, concessionaires, stores, and others can also be mapped. Integrations with IPS enable you to push customized offers that are triggered by proximity and the user’s past preferences for a more personalized experience.
And if you need to change the stadium layout on the fly, whether to host a different type of event or to adhere to social distancing protocols, indoor mapping solutions provide you with the flexibility you need to update maps quickly.
One of the more common indoor positioning use cases is in office buildings. More and more businesses are moving towards a “smart office” model, with Wi-Fi integrations and mobile apps enhancing the user experience.
Aside from indoor navigation, indoor positioning and indoor mapping technology can help you set up your workplace more efficiently. You can change layouts as needed to improve productivity or enforce social distancing measures. With real-time asset tracking, you can stay on top of your equipment and inventory no matter where you are.
Using indoor mapping, you can also implement restricted zones, support contact tracing, and assist emergency response teams whenever there's a crisis. You, as management, benefit too. The data that you collect about employee movement, space utilization, and more can help you make better business decisions.
Indoor maps can be integrated into a smart office app to further increase efficiencies for employees. Users of the app can search for a meeting room, employee, or department and populate the most efficient route to their destination. They can also reserve a meeting room or submit a workplace ticket such as an out-of-order washroom or a broken coffee machine.
Workplace teams can use the same application to improve the overall operations for the smart building. Facilities teams can send and receive notifications about equipment maintenance, building hazards, and cleaning requests. These notifications can be sent manually by employees or triggered automatically using sensors and specific criteria. For example, when a lunch room is emptied or a conference room drops in temperature below a certain degree.
Indoor maps allow businesses to easily visualize their available space and how to make adjustments that adhere to social distancing guidelines. Using an indoor map editor, facilities managers can make edits to their office floor plan in draft mode and experiment with different layouts. Whether you’re looking to adjust the size of a conference room, the location of specific resources such as a copying machine, or relocate a reception area, digital indoor maps provide you with a platform to test changes to your indoor space.
One of the use cases of indoor positioning that shows a lot of potential is in city districts. Connected digitally and physically, these real-estate developments are changing how people live and work.
We implemented indoor mapping technology in one of the United States’ first “engineered cities.” Mappedin's solutions help thousands of visitors everyday maneuver through more than 28-acres worth of hotels, retail spaces, offices, and homes. Mappedin even developed building-to-building navigation to handle the complexity of the mixed-use space, allowing people to move in and out of facilities without losing any functionality.
A college or university campus is often home to thousands of students, staff, and dozens of facilities. For people new to the school or those visiting, it’s easy to get lost and overwhelmed by a sprawling campus.
Indoor navigation and digital campus maps allows the school to offer personalized wayfinding experiences to all users. People will be able to easily identify points of interest such as lecture halls, administrative offices, classrooms, and libraries. With Wi-Fi on campus, you can expect a seamless transition from outdoor to indoor positioning. One of the many benefits to a mapping platform is that colleges and universities alike can use it to review location data and to maintain the maps as campuses change and grow.
When it comes to indoor mapping, there are plenty of opportunities for amusement parks to take advantage of indoor navigation systems and interactive theme park maps. Instead of referring to a physical map that can be difficult to follow, park visitors can simply enter their destination in the app and follow the directions.
Locating people is also much easier, which helps make your park safer for families. Lost children can be quickly reunited with their parents, and security detail can be immediately dispatched to address any emergencies.
Whether you’re a landlord or real-estate developer, there are many ways to use indoor navigation to your advantage. Through an interactive leasing map, you can walk potential tenants through a virtual tour of the space you’re leasing, demonstrating the different possibilities for the space depending on their requirements – all in real-time.
You’ll also be able to provide detailed location data that can help you sell. Square footage, pricing, number of visitors, and even store sales figures can be managed in the same CMS where you create indoor maps.
Healthcare facilities need versatile maps. Offices are constantly shifting, wings are being added, and entire sections could be renovated. Visual wayfinding elements on the ground like signs and printed-out maps are usually outdated, leading to confusion when visitors and patients try to find where they need to go.
Our indoor location-based technology allows users to navigate through the facility easily, even as your structure is in flux. And it’s not just locations that can be tagged; you can take stock of your equipment and direct employees to the right equipment whenever they need it. Indoor mapping allows healthcare facilities and hospitals to easily and efficiently update their map to effectively address navigation problems in the healthcare space.
It’s difficult for many people to find what they’re looking for at an airport, whether it’s a service (e.g. car rental), product (e.g. coffee), or their boarding gate. Everything is time-critical – a single minute’s delay can cause you to miss your flight.
Passengers will appreciate indoor navigation systems that help cut down unnecessary movement within the airport. Through indoor positioning technology, users will be able to go from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.
Plus, you can send users personalized real-time messages, alerting them of any changes to their flight, boarding gate, or reminding them of boarding times. Even the baggage claiming process can be optimized through asset tracking.
The hospitality and tourism industry presents an interesting use case for indoor mapping and positioning. Although wayfinding will likely be a popular feature for visitors, it’s more than just the blue dot experience.
You can implement a 3D interactive resort map to reinforce your marketing. Showcase your facilities with a virtual tour, enhancing it with photos, videos, or even AR/VR. Proximity marketing is particularly useful for hotels and resorts since you can trigger automatic notifications whenever a user enters a preset zone – for example, drawing their attention to the in-house cafe with timed messages and user-specific promotions.
If you manage a transportation hub like a train station, you can use indoor maps to support both passengers and employees. In addition to providing turn-by-turn navigation for travellers, the app can also inform users of train schedules, delays, and the like.
There are plenty of other use cases for Wi-Fi-enabled indoor positioning software on the management side. Location-based technology can help you monitor the flow of passengers and identify congestion points. You can also optimize your security routes, locate important equipment effortlessly, and collect real-time data about users.
Aside from providing quality education, ensuring the health and safety of students should be your biggest priority, especially with the coronavirus pandemic still in full swing. Using indoor mapping can help you identify overcrowded areas and restrict access to potential virus hotspots.
They can also assist with contact tracing and enforcing social distancing by measuring the distance between devices. With the app, you can then send notifications to students who may have been potentially exposed to the virus.
Outside of the global pandemic, one of the indoor mapping use cases for high schools is in emergency response. You can plan the best routes to designated evacuation points while avoiding congestions in case of a crisis. And if there’s an emergency, you can send real-time messages to students while also keeping emergency response teams and law enforcement in the loop.
Convention centers often host a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, exhibits, conventions, bazaars, and trade shows. Because they have flexible layouts, they need an indoor mapping solution that’s just as versatile.
Implementing an indoor mapping solution that provides real-time indoor navigation is essential at these events, especially considering how chaotic and crowded they can get. Mapping and positioning software helps attendees find the booths that they’re looking for easily, with step-by-step directions from any point in the convention center.
Data collection is one of the strongest use cases here. As an event or facility manager, you can see which brands or areas get the most foot traffic. This helps you optimize your layout to encourage attendee flow and avoid congestion.
When it comes to operational efficiencies, the pick and pack process is an area where many businesses can benefit from improving. Streamlined picking and packing mean more orders fulfilled, fewer mistakes, and plenty of cost savings.
Our wayfinding solutions include multi-stop pathing, providing workers with the fastest route for the items they need to pick and pack. Warehouse logistics can be taken care of as well. Plan the layout based on the most-picked inventory, and track items when they move in and out. Some systems can even be programmed for process automation – when a specific user enters a pre-mapped zone, they can trigger specific actions or notifications.
While many pedestrian walkways are mapped by outdoor positioning tech, not all of them are. Most only cover street-level routings like sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and the like. But GPS technology fails when pedestrians pass into underground walkways or through buildings. As a result, pedestrian navigation isn’t as efficient as it could be.
This is where indoor maps and navigation come in. We create an infrastructure that seamlessly transitions users from outdoor to indoor positioning. This allows them to calculate faster routes that are open to the general public but not otherwise visible in traditional maps or see off-limits areas that they can’t navigate through.
One often overlooked use for indoor mapping is in the construction industry. Unlike other verticals where indoor navigation and wayfinding, asset tracking, or location data are the most sought-after features, construction companies can use mapping software to sort documents.
Construction documents are often associated with a particular location. Our platform allows you to geotag them and assign documents to a construction site. Accessing these documents is made easier by compiling them into one mobile-friendly application.
You can use indoor mapping for museums and art galleries to provide visitors with a fresh, innovative learning experience. Guide them through different exhibits with turn-by-turn indoor navigation. You can even enhance their journey with a “smart tour guide” that provides detailed information whenever they approach a specific exhibit or piece – supplementing traditional audio and visual guides in the museum. The content can even be interactive to include quizzes, games, or videos that reinforce their on-the-ground learning.
Indoor mapping for museums also helps you gather important location and user data, such as the average viewing time and the most popular hotspots. This allows you to plan more engaging exhibits, avoid crowd bottlenecks with optimized layouts, and improve the security of your museum.
Take advantage of an indoor mapping solution paired with proximity messaging. Through this combination, users can see their precise location on the map and businesses can send relevant notifications as visitors navigate your venue. For example, alert shoppers of a promotion if they walk past a particular retailer in a mall or even down a specific aisle in the grocery store. Proximity messaging can be used in other industries as well. Travellers can be alerted of a last minute gate change in an airport and provided with the route to their new gate or if a guest has entered a stadium for a sporting event, they can be alerted “10 minutes until game time” with a route to their seat or section, and so on.
Believe it or not, indoor maps can also be used to improve the health and safety of visitors, employees, and guests. Contact monitoring software can be a useful tool in the event of an outbreak at your venue. Through the dashboard, admins can detect when a contact event has occurred on-site between opted-in devices. With this information on hand, employees can be notified and begin treatment or isolation, and employers can identify any potential risk areas moving forward. In terms of employee health and safety, indoor maps can be instrumental in both preventing transmission of diseases, as well as tracking any outbreak that does occur.
Indoor 3D maps improve emergency planning for all employees and visitors. Map admins can perform a location analysis of essential equipment, such as defibrillators, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and so on to determine the most optimal location. Paired with proximity messaging, those within your building can receive notifications in the event of an emergency. This notification could display the fastest escape routes on the map, show a user’s precise location, and even enable location sharing.
These are just several of the possible use cases for indoor mapping software. Many businesses use Mappedin to help their customers find what they’re looking for with turn-by-turn navigation. Others use it to help with security and emergency response, business strategy, and even marketing.
No matter the industry, there are lots of opportunities to streamline processes, increase productivity, or enhance the customer experience by implementing indoor mapping solutions.
Mappedin is always working on new ways to apply this technology. Are you interested in partnering with us? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you work smarter.
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