eSpatially New York, which blogs about the Geospatial community in New York, wrote an article with an interesting new perspective on the connection between GIS and Geospatial Mapping Technologies for the outdoor world and the revolution of indoor mapping and navigation for the indoor world. Here are a few clippings and link to the article.
As GIS and mapping technologies evolved through the later part of the 20th century focusing mainly on the physical(outdoor) landscape, the digital mapping of the built/interior environment continued to focus on the use of AutoCAD/Revit and related CAD technologies. With exceptions, there were two definitive geographic mapping camps: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software vs. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. One or the other. And with little integration of both.
As both technologies matured, integration between the two computing environments became more common and the lines of division blurred. New technologies including, but not limited to Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Laser Scanning, Building Information Modeling (BIM), and drones, as well as advancements in 3D modeling and increased desktop and internet capacity aided to the continued integration of the software platforms. GIS and BIM Integration Will Transform Infrastructure Design and Construction is a very recent and quick read from Autodesk charting the path of this flourishing market.
Fast forward to 2018 and the evolution of indoor wayfinding which leverages many of the components of these same outdoor and indoor mapping concepts. Based on a similar spatial data model, Wayfinding applications are now found in a wide range of public spaces, educational and industrial campuses, entertainment and athletic venues, buildings, and healthcare facilities. Offering indoor maps for handheld mobile devices is becoming more and more common, as are digital information kiosk systems in office complex lobbies, and as part of web mapping applications. (It is often recognized that The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) represented a milestone and was instrumental in helping to make spaces universally accessible and improving wayfinding for all individuals.)
New York City-based Connexient was formed in June 2012 with the vision that indoor GPS and navigation will become as widespread inside as it is outside.
With over 60 licensed hospital client sites and a total square footage over 70 million square feet mapped, Connexient is a market leader in healthcare in providing smart phone based turn-by-turn indoor navigation and all screens digital wayfinding solutions. Leveraging significant breakthroughs in the ability to implement low cost, navigation quality indoor positioning, users can now expect the same kind of functionality – intuitive, reliable and accurate maps, directions and turn-by-turn navigation which is commonly available from outdoor world mapping and navigational companies such as Google, Apple and Waze. The same user experience can be available via a mobile app for any large, complex indoor facility or campus that they enter. Today, these capabilities are highlighted in Connexient’s flagship product MediNavTM.
The co-founders of Connexient, Mark Green and Joe Motta have over two decades of experience in designing and deploying hospital wayfinding solutions, which at that time was primarily static signage. The success of these signage systems depended in large part on their skills in indoor mapping, and developing a methodology for conveying complex routing information in simple ways. But no matter how good the system, these could not come close to the power of navigation.
They also worked on deploying kiosks over the years, but these had similar limitations:
- Can’t take them with you through the large facility you are trying to navigate; and
- indoor maps and directions often don’t work in facilities and campuses of the size and complexity that are common in the healthcare industry because they simply lack the kind of references like street and route names, exit numbers, etc., that make outdoor maps useful.
“So we started with a simple question”, notes Connexient Chief Product Officer, Geoff Halstead, “why can’t we have Indoor GPS and Smartphone navigation apps? And we had a deep conviction that if we figured that out, we could finally truly solve the problem of getting around hospitals and other very large facilities.” He adds “But even that is just the tip of the iceberg. When you look below the surface, you find that there are all kinds of inefficiencies across operations, facility management, safety & security response and more which will benefit from the revolution of Indoor Navigation and Location-based services that is unfolding in large Enterprises across the world.”