Mapping the Indoors


One of the great things about being an Esri partner is getting in early on the latest applications, in some cases working side by side with them to help make the technology even better. The recent ArcGIS Indoors workshop that I attended was one of those partner events where I got the chance to learn about ArcGIS Indoors, an indoor mapping system, and share my thoughts on how to make it even better. 

Indoor Mapping Catching Up with the Outdoors

Allowing for more floors, countless corridors, extra elevators and stairs, and longer pathways, the indoors are more complex than ever before. Arriving at a hospital, doctor’s office, mall, airport, or business and not knowing where to go or how best to get to where you want to go in a timely manner can be frustrating. In the outdoors there are so many applications that help us get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible, using the fastest route, avoiding traffic jams and accidents, and using different modes of transportation – walking, car, bus, or train. Now Esri is giving that to us for the indoors to help us navigate our indoor workplace in an as efficient and carefree manner as our outdoor navigation.

Nuts and Bolts of Using the Technology

We start our journey by curating the data, an approach any good GIS analyst would take. In this case, the data are coming from the computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) data, which we transform into the GIS data in ArcGIS Indoors. Since GeoDecisions is part of Gannett Fleming, a global infrastructure firm, we are extremely familiar with working with BIM and CAD data. Next, we add additional office and room information – linking data to points of interest, creating a network, linking floors, routing in 2D, and calibrating your maps to beacons or small Bluetooth radio transmitters. Now your multifloor office comes to life!

What’s Next

From a company’s perspective, creating a more efficient workplace and managing your assets will be the most important result from implementing ArcGIS Indoors. Managers, operators, and decision-makers have increased visibility with this application, making better use of space, improving access to work areas, and streamlining delivery and workflow processes.

Eventually, I could see this used to manage workplace crises and other workplace safety situations more effectively.

To learn more about our partnerships, visit our Partners page. If you are interested in implementing ArcGIS Indoors please contact us at