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Every year more and more companies are introducing indoor navigation into their infrastructure. It’s actively used by airports, medical facilities, colleges, and factories. According to MRFR forecasts, by 2030, the global indoor positioning and navigation market will be valued at $92.36 billion, with a CAGR of 32.56%. It’s important to note that for applications with the indoor navigation feature to work, you have to create an indoor map of the room. In this article, we will cover how to create indoor navigation maps and which steps you have to take.
Why is indoor navigation with indoor maps so important?
Indoor maps help visitors and employees navigate inside large buildings. With indoor navigation, you can develop short routes and quickly find points of interest or assets indoors. Benefits of creating an interactive indoor map for companies:
- Improved space management is needed when visitors constantly follow the same established route or create too much traffic in certain places. The digital map helps identify problem areas and manage the space better.
- Ensuring the safety of visitors and staff in emergencies: using the systems, you can automatically send emergency notifications to visitors and display emergency exits.
- Increasing efficiency through insight: through detailed analysis, you can optimize business processes, analyze staff movement, and set tasks that will increase the productivity and efficiency of the company.
- Increasing visitor loyalty is achieved by providing convenient routes throughout the building. When visiting a store or company, the customer doesn’t need to spend time searching for the place of his interest, since the system instantly develops the shortest path according to the user's request.
- Increasing company revenue and efficiency: executives and managers can use indoor navigation analytics to make important decisions and to plan facilities or resources, which improves the competitive advantages of the company and increases its profitability.
If you need high-quality indoor map navigation, you can always consult Navigine for help. We create modern software for navigation and positioning indoors. Our professionals provide effective tools that will help you create and implement indoor maps and indoor navigation into your company’s mobile app.
Stages of creating indoor maps
Indoor mapping is carried out in several steps. The process requires a competent approach - from setting goals and finding a solution provider to constantly analyzing a ready-made indoor map.
1. Setting goals
Deciding to implement indoor navigation and indoor mapping solutions always begins with identifying the purposes of their use. In many cases, the system can facilitate navigation within a large building, improve workplace safety, increase work efficiency, and provide the proper service quality. Airports and train stations often use maps in mobile apps to help passengers find a check-in counter or a platform, while stores and malls are implementing them for easy access to the right items. Additional goals may include:
- obtaining data for space management;
- detailed analytics for organizing advertising campaigns;
- ensuring interaction between employees;
- facilitating emergency communication.
2. Searching for a solution provider
After defining the goal, it’s much easier to select a service provider. When choosing, pay attention to the reputation of the company, the availability of customer support, and its ability to integrate the software with the systems that are already in place at your company. Navigine checks all of these boxes. We have been on the market for many years and provide effective solutions for implementing indoor navigation in the infrastructure.
Before you start creating maps, you should carry out the following preparatory activities:
- Make sure that the building is suitable for deploying the hardware.
- Decide on the size of the location.
- Purchase Bluetooth® Low Energy beacons: on average, you will need from 8 to 15 sensors per 11000 sq. ft area.
- Make sure your smartphone supports Bluetooth® LE 4.0 and the iBeacon protocol.
- Prepare a desktop computer with a Windows or Linux operating system (for Android). If using iOS, the PC must be running Mac OS.
3. Infrastructure setup indoors
When selecting components for implementing indoor mapping, it should be taken into account that Navigine offers algorithms to achieve different levels of navigation accuracy. They may have different requirements for the company infrastructure, as well as provide different ways to link the location of an object to a binary map.
For example, when using the trilateration algorithm, you can use the Bluetooth® LE sensor infrastructure to link its current location to an online map. To do this, you should install beacons throughout the building and indicate their location on the map. Further navigation is performed by processing data received from the smartphone and beacons.
When using the fingerprint algorithm on Android devices, both iBeacon and Wi-Fi infrastructure can be used. To take advantage of the full capabilities of this algorithm, you need to go through the steps that are presented for trilateration, as well as perform measurements of the radio map of the location. Fingerprinting is more accurate than trilateration because the radio map includes not only the location but also data on the characteristics of the signal.
4. Signing up on the Navigine platform
Navigine's indoor navigation platform requires mandatory registration. To do this, follow the link at https://locations.navigine.com/auth/login and create an account. This will allow you to work with Navigine Indoor Location Services.
5. Downloading the plan
The digital map you’re creating is based on the usual 2D layout of the building, which must be loaded into the editor. The plan should include the main points of interest, including:
- elevators, entrances, stairs;
- equipment, such as public telephones, ATMs, bank terminals, etc.;
- safety equipment (fire extinguishers) and emergency exits;
- other points such as kiosks, toilets, etc.
More information about working with the platform can be found here.
6. Creating the locations
All the locations on the 2D plan* will be displayed on the digital map, but you can add new ones if you wish. All main locations in the Navigine system consist of sublocations, the number of which depends on the size and complexity of the object (the number of floors, buildings, etc.). When adding sublocations, you need to specify their name, longitude, latitude (optional), and azimuth angle (if it’s unknown, just set it as 0). The system also allows for adding any objects with their description. In the future, when using the platform, the visitor will be able to press the point on the map where a particular object is located and view information about it or use it as a target point when navigating.
*If necessary, Navigine can provide a 3D map solution.
7. Indicating beacons on the map
The next step you need to take to create an indoor map is to indicate the beacons on it. To do this, go to the "Add Transmitter" tab in the Navigine editor, which allows you to mark the physical location of the equipment. After activating the tool, you need to click on a point on the map where the beacon is located, and in the next window, enter the following data:
- the name of the beacons;
- unique UUID name;
- major and minor sensor identifiers;
- received signal strength.
After setting the data, a beacon icon will pop up on the map. If necessary, you can always make changes or roll them back to the previous state.
8. Adding paths and obstacles
If there are places in the building that have restricted access for visitors, they can be marked using the "Draw Barrier" tab. Barriers can be anywhere on the map, including closed rooms or areas located outdoors. When you create indoor maps, you can also set navigation paths along which visitors will move to places of their interest. After setting a route, you can change it, drag individual parts, and connect them to other paths.
9. Analyzing maps to ensure up-to-date data
For the data to remain relevant, it has to be constantly analyzed and adjusted. All the updates are made as the space changes or as a result of an improved understanding of visitor behavior. Event management tools will also ensure the accuracy of mapping data. To do this, you need to enter data about upcoming events in advance, including the date, time, and location where the event will take place. After the event ends, you can remove the details about it.
For more information on how to create interactive indoor maps, please contact Navigine for help. Our specialists will consult you and provide professional technical support at every implementation stage. For more information, fill out the form on our website or book a free demo on Zoom: