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The Ultimate Guide to Indoor Mapping for Public Safety Professionals

October 19, 2022

A majority of emergencies occur inside, yet 80% of floorplans for indoor locations are either not available to first responders or are outdated. This limited visibility creates challenges to 9-1-1 call takers, dispatchers, and first responders which can add precious seconds in emergency response. As localities continue to push toward the enhancement of GIS (geographic information systems) data for Next Generation 9-1-1, we must consider the life-saving spatial information missing beyond the front door.

Without accurate indoor information readily available, indoor locational challenges will exist during emergencies such as locating emergency assets ( I.e. shelter locations, AEDs and fire extinguishers). Planning efficient exit and entry routes for occupants and first responders relies on accurate indoor data, and locating incidents on spacious campuses (like schools, malls, and apartment complexes) can be both time-consuming and hazardous. When indoor information is available, it often exists in the form of a static image or hand-drawn floorplan. This information is difficult to share with public safety personnel, operationalize during disasters and emergencies, and can contribute to the addition of precious seconds in time-sensitive

With a vast majority of incidents occurring indoors, the need for reliable indoor mapping data is paramount. Facilities managers, citizens, dispatchers, and first responders rely on this information at their most vulnerable moments and require data that is highly accurate, up-to-date, and accessible to key stakeholders. As the public safety industry moves toward a digital transformation, the time to prioritize the digitization and accessibility of indoor maps is now.

How do I get started?

As the process to create highly accurate indoor mapping information can be daunting, our team has created a step-by-step guide to assist with key details.

  1. Choose the right partner
  2. Locate, create, and update indoor data
  3. Digital Solutions for ongoing data maintenance
  4. Operationalize for public safety

1. Choose the right partner

Understanding most facility managers and public safety professionals do not have existing or up-to-date access to indoor maps for their jurisdiction, the road to location intelligence starts with finding a partner who can assist with the entire indoor mapping life cycle (from data collection to maintenance). A partner will work to identify and establish stakeholders to understand their goals and deploy the mechanisms to achieve them.

DATAMARK is part of a network of industry leading indoor mapping experts. Our organization incorporates partners like Esri, CRG, and others to create mapping data that is both rich and tactical. As the public safety division of Michael Baker International’s Consulting Technology Solutions (CTS) vertical, our team is also capable of leveraging leading-edge technology to arm clients with highly accurate indoor information.

2. Create indoor data

Indoor information can be collected from a range of sources (including blueprints, measurements, and indoor LiDAR data). These sources create the foundation of client’s operational maps, so accuracy is critical. Our team recommends leveraging a trusted partner with proven experience and access to quick capture tools such as SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) technology for data capture to ensure the information is precise and up to date.

3. Find a solution to make sense of the data

After capturing the indoor data, users must have a solution to store, maintain, update, share, and operationalize the data. A viable solution for operational indoor maps will enable users to:

  • View data in 2D and 3D
  • Turn on/off public safety layers (asset locations)
  • Incorporate multiple user roles and capabilities
  • Provide instant access from anywhere with a secure browser connection

DATAMARK’s recently released indoor mapping application, Inside, can be deployed as a solution to enhance location intelligence for facility managers and public safety stakeholders. Inside incorporates the key features mentioned above to provide an easy to use, innovative indoor mapping solution to create a common operating picture.

4. Operationalize indoor maps

After collecting the indoor data and hosting it in an accessible area, all users with login access can leverage the information and engage additional stakeholders for activities such as exit planning, maintenance, and tactical response. Incorporating officials at the city and county level will ensure collaborative access to this information and create a common operating picture for all parties involved.