News  |  Apr 13, 2023  |  Anne Keener

What is an Indoor Positioning System and Why Do You Need One?

  • What is an IPS

In our digital age, the importance of indoor location awareness cannot be overstated. Facility managers rely on accurate, real-time information about the location of people and assets within their buildings to streamline operations, improve customer experience, and enhance overall efficiency.

Unlike a traditional outdoor Global Positioning System (GPS), Indoor navigation relies on an indoor positioning system (IPS) which detects real-time locations to accurately determine the coordinates of assets or people inside a facility.

What is an Indoor Positioning System (IPS)?
An IPS is a network of devices used to locate people or objects where GPS and other satellite technologies lack precision or fail entirely, such as inside multistory buildings, airports, alleys, parking garages, and underground locations. There are a variety of indoor positioning technologies that can be used, including beacons, smartphones, and/or Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas. The location data is then collected and processed, allowing for real-time analytics.

IPS allows for accurate tracking of indoor locations and provides valuable insights into the movements of people and assets within a facility. By utilizing IPS, facility managers can streamline their operations, gain actionable insights into their operations, and enhance customer experience.

By tracking the movement of people and assets, facility managers can identify areas where inefficiencies exist and work to address them. For example, if a particular area of a facility is consistently congested, IPS data can be used to identify the root cause and develop solutions to alleviate the congestion. With an IPS, facility managers are also able to identify which areas of the facility are most frequently used, which areas are underutilized, and which areas may be causing bottlenecks or inefficiencies.

The IPS Gold Standard
ESRI’s ArcGIS IPS is a powerful tool that allows facility managers to track the location of people and assets within a building in real-time. Similar to GPS, it puts a blue dot on indoor maps and uses location services to help you navigate to any point of interest or destination. Real-time indoor navigation, location sharing, and location tracking empower customers, visitors, and contractors. Indoor data collection provides a smooth workflow for mobile workers and analytics that can help your organization increase efficiency and improve customer service.

What components does ArcGIS IPS include?
ESRI’s mobile solutions include the ArcGIS IPS Setup app which allows users to plan and perform survey recordings inside facilities to collect the location data needed to enable IPS. According to Esri, the ArcGIS IPS Setup includes the following components:

Map list View map details, set favorites, open maps, and access the recordings list and profile menu.

Map mode Visualize floor plans, switch between floors in a facility, and access Survey and Test modes.

Survey mode Collect radio reference data at an indoor site to build a record of trajectories, survey points, and locations, along with their corresponding geocoordinates during survey or quality recordings. Before conducting a survey, you can plan the survey path in one of the following ways:

Test modeTest a positioning file after processing survey data with the Generate Indoor Positioning File tool in ArcGIS Pro.

Why does your organization need an IPS?

  • Boost Indoor Location Awareness
    • Use ArcGIS IPS to allow employees, contractors, and visitors to better orient themselves inside their facilities and navigate to people, assets, and places in real time. Empower mobile workers with tools to continue doing their job effectively as they switch from the field to an indoor environment. The blue dot transitions seamlessly on the map as the user enters or exits the building or switches between floor levels.
    • With real-time data on the location of people and assets within a building, facility managers can easily track the movement of staff and equipment, improving overall visibility and control. This can be particularly useful in large or complex buildings, such as hospitals or airports, where the ability to quickly locate people and assets can be critical.
  • Streamline Operations
    • Indoor operations such as maintenance work require excellent coordination and workforce management. Enable indoor location sharing and tracking for your employees and mobile workers to facilitate collaboration and monitor operations with complete transparency and visibility.
    • By tracking the movement of people and assets within a building, facility managers can identify potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies in their operations. Effectively coordinate and dispatch the right resources to do the right job at the right place inside the building.
  • Get Actionable Insights
    • By tracking the movement of customers within a building, facility managers can identify areas where customers are spending the most time or experiencing the most congestion. This information can then be used to optimize the layout of the building or the placement of products or services, improving overall customer satisfaction.
    • Get insights into activities inside your organization’s facility by analyzing foot traffic patterns, dwell times, and frequencies and visualizing them on a dashboard. Make better-informed, data-driven decisions to optimize indoor operations and space utilization.
  • Enhance Custom Apps
    • ArcGIS IPS is available with ArcGIS Indoors, ArcGIS Maps SDKs, and ArcGIS Field Maps. Activate the indoor blue dot inside your ArcGIS Indoors or ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app or add the indoor positioning system to your custom-built mobile app via ArcGIS Maps SDKs for native apps (such as, Arora ATLAS®).

To get the most out of ESRI’s IPS, it is essential to work with a trusted partner with the expertise and experience needed to implement the system effectively. With the right partner, facility managers can maximize the value of their investment in ESRI’s IPS, enhancing their operations and improving overall efficiency and productivity.

Arora’s Geospatial Practice provides a full range of products and services to help our clients leverage geospatial data and technologies to lower the cost and maximize the effectiveness of their planning, design, operations, and maintenance activities. As an approved Esri ArcGIS Indoors Specialty partner, Arora Engineers has the expertise and capacity to quickly transform your indoor floor plans into a digital format that is then used to create configurable map services that fuel web map and mobile solutions that can be distributed via a kiosk, through desktop computers, and/or iOS or Android device. Learn more today!

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