Technical insights, news, videos
Dec 1, 2021

Maps are one of the most important resources we can rely on for the navigation of new areas and spaces. Traditional 2D maps have been at the forefront of most of our developments, and while they are reliable this doesn’t mean they don’t have to evolve with the times.

With each passing year, we rely more on maps, and as a result, they have evolved to adopt our new technologies. GPS, Google Maps, and beyond are new and exciting ways to look at maps and a practical solution for navigation right at the palm of our hands. But maps have changed even in indoor spaces, and this is where indoor mapping comes in.

Indoor mapping can be best summed up as the techniques and process required to transform a floorplan into an interactive digital interface. Where floorplans are static and fixed elements, indoor mapping offers an interactive solution that allows individuals to better understand their positioning relative to an indoor space. These indoor maps allow you to zoom in and explore at will, as well as locate yourself on the map at any time. Indoor mapping is the technological evolution of traditional floorplans, and they are an exciting new technology with plenty of applications.

How are Indoor Maps Created

Now that we’ve covered what an indoor map is, it’s time to answer how to create indoor navigation maps. There are two main ways to approach the creation of an indoor map, and it ultimately depends on the tools you use for it.

One of the easiest ways to create a new indoor map is to base your new map on your pre-existing floorplans. Using a floorplan as a base, designers can build on top of them through indoor mapping tools to create an interactive file that replicates the existing structure while adding interactive features like zoom and geolocation.

Alternatively, indoor maps can also be created from the ground up through direct observation. In this case, a designer will take measurements and photographic records of the location to make a new map directly on a studio interface. This process requires additional fieldwork, but the finalized map will share all the functions and services nonetheless.

What is Wayfinding

Wayfinding is the core focus of any map and ultimately comes down to the combination of indoor mapping technology and physical movement. In basic terms, wayfinding refers to the process in which a person navigates a physical environment to go from one location to another. Wayfinding refers to the overall process of transportation inside a space, however, in the context of indoor maps this goes beyond just walking.

Wayfinding starts with clear map design, guests must understand where they are and the representation of doors and stairs must be clear. That said, the interactive nature of indoor maps allows owners to provide further services. Indoor maps can offer recommended routes to their guests based on their destination. Indoor mapping is an opportunity to make wayfinding easier for your guests, and improve the overall user experience.

What is Indoor Positioning

Indoor positioning refers to any technology used to pinpoint the specific location of a user in an indoor setting. Through indoor positioning, any user can use a device like their smartphone to accurately pinpoint their location inside space and then use this new information to navigate a building. In practice for the user, indoor positioning will look and feel like GPS positioning, but the inner mechanisms are very different.

GPS technology does not work properly indoors, and as such indoor mapping technology must rely on alternative means to provide this service. Indoor positioning requires a custom installation of signage or signal emitters to use as a point of reference. Wi-Fi, Li-Fi, and Ultrasonic Devices can work as the required sensor for indoor positioning but require extensive installation and adapting. On the other hand, signage with QR codes can also function as an alternative, allowing guests to scan the signs to get their location displayed on the building map.

What is Indoor Navigation

Indoor navigation is in general terms an active variant of indoor positioning. Where indoor positioning allows users to find their location at command, indoor navigation provides a real-time dot that follows and replicates any movement done by the user inside the location. The door provides constant tracking of a user’s movements and as such offers additional assistance when it comes to wayfinding.

Since GPS does not work well in these settings indoor navigation relies on IPS (Indoor Positioning System) technology. IPS uses a mesh of signals in conjunction with a personal device to constantly track the movement of the device and with it of the user.

Use Cases

Now that we’ve taken a thorough look at the main features offered by indoor mapping technology it’s important to understand its practical applications as well. Wayfinding is the main way humans interact with their surroundings, and applying these new technologies to the process brings with it various benefits.

Real Estate

In real estate, indoor mapping provides an opportunity both for clients and owners. Users logging in to an indoor mapping system provide clear statistics to the owner in regards to the amount of traffic a property sees as well as the main hotspots inside of it. In the context of malls and other commercial properties, this information can be used to adjust opening hours, prioritize important advertisements in hotspots and increase overall user engagement.


In Healthcare indoor mapping provides an opportunity to regulate the efforts of the staff as well as offer improved navigation in peak times. Proper indoor mapping reduces the amount of staff needed to answer location questions and allows guests to easily navigate a hospital even in peak times. However indoor mapping can also be used to track the staff and ensure their efficiency at all times.

Travel & Events

When it comes to travel and events the wayfinding capabilities of indoor mapping shine through. Individuals arriving at an airport or an event center are very likely experiencing it for the first time, which coupled with the number of visitors can result in logistics and planning issues. Through wayfinding guests can use suggested routes and check their path ahead of time, this technology can even react in real-time to change these routes based on the number of visitors and avoid congestion in certain areas. Indoor mapping adds a new level of control and reaction to large events and can help optimize the experience of visitors.