Many of you have heard of GIS but not so largely about Indoor GIS, in this article I will try to give you a perspective on Indoor GIS and its usages in our day to day life.
As name suggest, Indoor GIS help you in navigating or exploring the area of interest, where GPS (Global Positioning System) system does not work like Inside Malls, Basement, Hospital, Event Shows etc. Typically at these locations satellite based GPS signal is difficult to get so one of the possibility to track location of user by utilizing the signal strength of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
How to track the location using Wi-Fi:
Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) is the technique which is suitable for identifying the location of device. This method computes distances based on the transmitted and received signal strengths between blind node (e.g. Mobile Device) and reference nodes (Wi-Fi Device).
Use of existing WLAN for RSSI calculation is one of cost effective way to track the location but it suffers many disadvantages due to uneven distribution of signal strength and many cases no signal strength.
One of the option to use Wi-Fi replicator at predefined interval which will calculate the signal strengths of mobile device. Since the location of replicator device is fixed and based on signal strength received by two nearby devices, near precise location can be found. Accuracy can be in centimetres.
Some of the functions which indoor GIS provides:
Routing & Navigation: Turn-by-turn directions with follow-along paths:
Search: Room Numbers, Zones, Areas, or other point of interest.
Floor Mapping: Interactive, High performance venue base maps and overlays
Geofence: Create virtual perimeters for special monitoring, security or marketing. For details on Geofencing, please read: http://geoithub.com/2016/08/11/location-based-marketing-with-geofencing/
Analytics: Finally the indoor navigation application can be linked to dashboard application to monitor the movements of people and understand engagement of space/objects
Imagine you are at Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, one of the biggest mall of Gurgaon with around 1Km of floor area, I am sure you get lost and difficult to find out the location of exact store/shop. If its enabled with indoor analytics then at your mobile itself you will be having floor plan along with details of shops. You search the store name (~Louis Phillip) and indoor navigation will guide you turn-turn.
Trade Shows/Fair: Indoor GIS navigation can be used in large trade fair like every year happens in India “Trade Fair” (http://www.indiatradefair.com/ organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation-ITPO). Users can navigate to stalls by using the indoor GIS navigation App. Currently ITPO provides the GPS based APP for navigation but with the intervention of Indoor GIS, better management and tracking of people can be achieved, especially within “HALLs”. Another advantage to the shopkeepers can be provided by tracking the “FOOTFALL” of users per stall.
In large hospitals where its required to navigate to exact room by visitors becomes difficult, Indoor GIS navigation could be of great help.
Another potential area to use Indoor Navigation in tourism, where user can navigate to the object or point of interest on its own instead of manual help.
Above are some of the use cases, where I find Indoor GIS can be really helpful, but possibilities are numerous.
Although it’s exciting to note the benefits of indoor GIS but also pose security threat to infrastructures like Malls/Hospitals if the detailed information of floor plans gets into wrong hands. But I also believe we are marching towards open world with free access to information and Indoor GIS is the way forward for better and effective navigation.
Another concern is cost of implementing such system is high and also require a dedicated team to manage the Wi-Fi device. I am sure as technology is advancing, cost will come down which will pave the way forward for easy adoption.