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Benefits of Indoor Mapping for Universities

Nov 2, 2020

10 min read

By: Mappedin

Indoor mapping helps to close the loop when navigating between buildings, floors, and rooms on a university campus. Here are the benefits to using an indoor mapping platform on your campus. 

Most of us navigate to new places and plan our routes using GPS applications for web and mobile. But what about when we arrive? What about when we enter a multi-story university building? The GPS satellite will likely struggle to locate your device indoors. Even if the satellite were able to locate you, would you be able to access indoor mapping data that could direct you to a particular room or facility on a particular floor? That’s where indoor mapping software can help, taking over where GPS mapping ends. 

What is Indoor Mapping SaaS?

Indoor Mapping SaaS (Software as a Service) provides developers with tools and code fragments via purpose-designed SDKs (Software Development Kits) that can be used to compile and finalize indoor mapping services. By leveraging these tools, developers can create collaborative indoor navigation experiences that may be maintained accurately in real-time across all permitted users and organizations. 

What are the Benefits of Indoor Mapping to Universities?

Primarily, indoor mapping services allow universities to provide all staff, students, and visitors with web and mobile access to indoor route planning facilities. This means that users will benefit from direct route planning, helping them to save time. Everything from the onsite toilet and changing room facilities to lecture rooms and other relevant locations may be shown on your campus map.  

Benefits of indoor mapping for universities include: 

Pop-up details 

Indoor mapping technology allows users to curate pop-up details in real-time. This means that important or useful information can be relayed to students, staff, and visitors relevant to their location. Examples of how pop-up details could enhance an individual user’s journey include lecture cancellations or changed meeting times and locations. 

Other pop-up notifications that could benefit all who enter the university building could include wi-fi details, parking information, general opening and closing times, and important contact details (e.g. the building facilities manager). 

Facilities and amenities

Different university buildings may offer different indoor facilities and amenities. For example, students, staff, and visitors may benefit from at-a-glance information regarding the location of facilities such as toilets, baby changing, ramps (or other access), drinks fountain, elevators, first aid facilities, fire extinguishers, provisions for linking up with hearing aids, and phone charging stations.  

Safety and security

In the event of a fire or other catastrophic event, the exits should be lit and easily accessible in real life, without requiring a map. However, including the details of fire exits is useful for planning group drills. Security facilities that your mapping platform might highlight include strong rooms, vaults, and the location of the campus security office.  

Retailers and other services 

Some university buildings may come equipped with indoor facilities such as restaurants, cafés, dining areas, lounge areas, and vending machines. There could also be visitor information services, student information services, and retail offerings (either transient such as book sales in foyers, or permanent onsite shops such as newsagents).

Individual people or staff

Certain university buildings may be of particular importance for reasons of containing the offices of prominent staff. For example, indoor mapping software may prove useful in locating the offices of course leaders or student liaison officers. 

Locating such offices with ease would serve to improve student-tutor communications and boost general student interaction with the university.  

Time-sensitive events 

The ability to add real-time updates to your campus map allows your university to highlight the location of time-sensitive events. Pop-ups may also be used to indicate additional information such as start times, end times, and itinerary details where applicable (e.g. agenda may include a running order of speakers).

Multi-level wayfinding 

Digital mapping technology allows your team to create and rollout intuitive mapping solutions that allow for a greater sense of direction regarding multi-floor journeys. In other words, clear routes that traverse multiple storeys may be mapped and understood with ease. This is worthy of particular note where stairs may end in one area and carry on in a different area of the same floor, meaning indoor mapping technology can be used to speed up the user’s journey. 

Indoor mapping software from Mappedin delivers a coherent 3D indoor mapping service that is highly beneficial to universities. For example, some of the easy to use features within the software at the map creation stage include:

  • Room selection & highlighting 

  • Automated pathing

  • Colour attributes

  • Height attributes

  • Automated walls

  • Final rendering 

Mappedin also offers city mapping solutions, which can be used to highlight the different levels of pathways and roadways within the university city. 

Points of interest

Different universities may have different points of interest (sometimes known as 'places and things') that draw crowds. This could include artwork, statues, busts, plaques, and locations of historical importance. Indoor mapping can highlight all of these points of interest with ease. 

Using indoor mapping technology within a university space will also relieve some of the pressure from both visitor services staff and other staff in terms of answering frequent questions concerning directions. Although this may seem like a minor consideration on a person to person basis, the accumulated lost hours per year in dealing with direction queries adds up. 

This means that through the use of a professional and accurate indoor mapping service, university staff will be able to focus more time on running of the university - saving time and money across the lifespan of using the service. 

How Does Indoor Mapping Work?

Mappedin’s SDKs deliver the powerful and professional tools required to create custom indoor mapping experiences. The creation process involves features such as sample applications, Getting Started guides, and access to a professional software developer network. The aim is to bring your vision of an indoor university map to life.

How indoor mapping works: 

1. Digitization 

Digitization is the start point in creating an indoor mapping experience. This is where Mappedin generated a digital asset from your existing 2D map or blueprint. 

2. SDKs that bring your ideas to life

Using the powerful and versatile SDKs, you can select between sample applications and integrate other code fragments that add value to your indoor map as well as the experience you hope to provide to users. 

3. Access to a suite of professional editing tools

The range of professional editing tools allows you to make real-time updates to your map, meaning guests will always be presented with the most up-to-date information.

4. Gather insights from your data 

Through the use of Mappedin's intuitive Analytics Dashboard, you can gather valuable insights into factors such as the number of indoor map users, user intentions, time of visit, device usage, and visit duration.

Mappedin’s mobile and web SDKs bring together a host of user-friendly features that allow you to integrate indoor mapping with an existing website or application. These tools are the basis upon which indoor mapping experiences from Mappedin are built. Now we’ll cover some of the benefits of Mappedin’s SDKs.

Benefits of SDKs from Mappedin

Universities stand to benefit from Mappedin’s SDKs not only due to seamless platform integration, but also because users are supported by our Integrations team. Now we’re going to cover some of the ways that custom SDKs can help you to design, build, and rollout a unique indoor mapping experience.

Browse and implement sample applications

Sample applications allow you to expedite your indoor mapping creative journey, staying on track and testing different ‘use cases’ as you go. This not only means that you will save time in creating your indoor map experience, but you will also benefit from exposure to a variety of ideas that you may not have previously considered. 

Documented resources 

All iOS, Android, and Web SDKs are both well-documented and well-resourced. This means that whatever your requirements and project goals, building and rolling out a unique indoor mapping experience for your university is simple and intuitive at all stages of design and creation.  

User guides for getting started 

No experience is required to get started with building your first indoor mapping experience. Simply follow the step-by-step guides provided - start by building the core elements of your project, before moving on to the addition of relevant features that are unique to your university.  

Support from the Integrations team

The Mappedin Integrations team has been set up to provide support for all platform users. Our team is constantly working on adding new and beneficial features to the range of SDKs, meaning you will benefit from the successful implementation of your project with ongoing support throughout.   

What Features are on the Finalized Indoor Map?

Features that could appear on your indoor university map include:

A-B wayfinding

Users can discover the most direct route from A to B inside a university building using indoor mapping technology. The route is highlighted using easy to follow straight lines on the map. 

Multi-stop wayfinding 

Users can enter more than one destination for their route. The software will create and display the shortest route between the desired multiple stops. Each destination is highlighted separately on the map.

Multi-floor wayfinding 

Users who need to travel between floors can view a guided route that highlights the entire journey between floors. Accessibility mode allows users to see routes that prioritize elevators and ramps over stairs. 

Blue dot positioning 

Users can benefit from real-time indoor positioning. This feature will display the user’s updated position on the map as they move through the building, giving assurance that they are on track when locating their destination. 

Amenity icons

Display the most popular or important amenities and facilities on your indoor map using standout icons. For example, highlight the position of toilets, elevators, or fire exits. 

Rotate, pan, & zoom

Rotate, pan, and zoom options allow the user to orientate and resize the map. This serves to enhance the overall indoor mapping experience. 

Offline mode

This may be of particular use where the university does not provide wi-fi access, or where the wi-fi access is known to slow down at peak times. Although a dropped wi-fi connection means that features such as real-time updates and live indoor positioning will not be available (the user could choose to access the map using their device data, sidestepping the issue), the map will still be able to function in offline mode as a point of reference with rotate, pan, and zoom available. If any changes are made to the map, they will update once the device is back online. 

Further improvements to Mappedin - creating safer workspaces 

Mappedin has recently added further features to the platform to create a safer indoor experience. The updates (which are open-source) work by using staff mobile or device data. The solutions have been rolled out in response to the growing need for technology that will allow indoor spaces to open and operate efficiently in line with social distancing guidelines.

The updates include: 

Mobile SDKs

Both the Android and iOS SDKs allow integration with other relevant workplace apps, resulting in more accurate workplace location data.  

Ingestion API

When location data is generated, the Ingestion API is used to collect and process the information - Mappedin’s services can process high volumes of data at high speed. The data is then stored for optimal recall as required (i.e. in response to dashboard queries).   

Dashboard updates

All processed data is queried and sorted by the dashboard, which generates visualized summaries of live occupancy results and displays the information on the map in real-time. This feature offers instant insights regarding indoor visitor numbers passing through the university at any given time. 

These open-source updates are beneficial to universities that wish to generate regular high-quality data sets relating to the movement of students, staff, and visitors throughout all indoor areas of the university.