How to create beautiful, interactive indoor maps at scale

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Indoor mapping guide

Indoor mapping presents businesses of all types with an unprecedented opportunity to empower their staff, customers, and visitors to find what they're looking for, get where they need to go, and enjoy an outstanding experience. 

If you're at the very beginning of your business's indoor mapping journey, or are looking to improve on your current solution, then the plethora of options available to you can seem overwhelming. That's why we've put together the ultimate guide to indoor mapping.

In this guide, we explain:

  • How to get started with indoor maps
  • Why your business needs indoor maps
  • Common queries, such as the different mapping types, and how to digitize floor plans
  • How to choose a successful indoor mapping system
  • How to solve issues such as needing to digitize thousands of venues at scale in a short time.

Our guide to developing a successful indoor mapping system provides everything you need to know in order to give your business the foundation to unlock:

Digital Maps

Indoor mapping

Real-time Indoor Positioning

Real-time indoor positioning via a mobile device (“blue dot”)

Location sharing

Digital wayfinding, routing & navigation


Analytics capabilities

Why trust Pointr when it comes to creating indoor maps?

For years, indoor maps have been one of the major obstacles facing businesses looking to harness the incredible power of IoT. Producing accurate, detailed (yet readable) maps of indoor spaces is difficult, time-consuming work, and with major businesses increasingly moving to architecturally complicated, large campuses, creating indoor maps was only becoming harder.

Once the map was created, businesses had to tackle a new challenge; how to keep the map updated. As anyone who's been directed down a road that no longer exists by an in-car GPS will know, a map that's out of date is effectively useless - in fact, it can end up causing more frustration than having no map in the first place.

Help, however, is now at hand. Pointr have years of experience in developing beautiful, interactive indoor maps. Not content with mapping individual buildings one by one, we then developed MapScale®, which uses AI machine learning to map thousands of venues in seconds - and then keep them up to date.


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Why do I need an indoor map for my business?

Many of the world's major businesses are increasingly looking to IoT infrastructure to empower their workplaces and venues and take the next technological step. Initiatives such as the ability to check desk occupancy live and book a desk in an office, to tracking the location of a particular piece of medical technology within a hospital, to helping shoppers find exactly what they're looking for are all at the vanguard of the future of business.

None of this is possible without clear, precise, regularly updated indoor maps. An indoor map acts as the foundation for indoor positioning, indoor navigation, and much more.

Why can't I just use my favourite map app for my indoor maps?

Outdoor map services such as Google Maps and Waze do a fantastic job of providing maps for outdoor locations. However, indoor maps are an entirely different proposition.

  • Google and other mapping providers will have very little or no information on the inside of the building - this information isn't publicly available.
  • Even in the cases where Google do have the information to create an approximate indoor map, that map represents a snapshot in time - with indoor locations changing far more rapidly than outdoor ones, most outdoor mapping providers have no provision for the speed of updates required by indoor maps.
  • One key issue with relying on outdoor mapping providers for indoor maps is the inability to layer positioning and navigation on top of those maps. Outdoor mapping providers invariably rely on GPS for their positioning and navigation. However, GPS's functionality is vastly limited in indoor locations, meaning alternative technology is required to achieve the sort of accuracy required in indoor environments.

If you want to learn more about this topic, we have a detailed post on using Google Maps indoors and the alternative options.

What makes Pointr different from other indoor mapping companies?

Several areas set Pointr apart from other indoor mapping companies. 

  • We began as a company with a focus on positioning and navigation. This means that our maps are always designed to be built upon with IoT innovations such as wayfinding and future-proofed.
  • We are constantly improving based on feedback and feature requests from our numerous clients. We aim to deliver maps that are clear and precise while still being beautiful, customizable and offering the latest technology, such as 3D maps.
  • As we often combine our maps with technology such as indoor positioning, we're acutely aware of the importance of keeping maps up to date. We don't believe that the initial creation of the map is the end of the process. Ensuring a map reflects all major updates to the layout of a building is critical to indoor positioning and navigation systems.

And all of this only applies for mapping a single building. Many businesses have dozens, hundreds of even thousands of separate buildings, all of which require unique indoor maps to be created and kept up to date. Before Pointr, this process was laborious, cost- and time-intensive and often meant maps would be left without updates for months at a time. That's why we developed MapScale®, a revolutionary, AI-powered mapping system capable of transforming basic CAD files into detailed indoor maps in seconds.

How to create an indoor map

The main steps for creating an indoor map involve:

  • Inputting an architectural CAD file into Pointr's MapScale® tool
  • MapScale® reviews the CAD file and, using machine learning, digitizes it
  • MapScale® outputs an interactive indoor map
  • Pointr's team reviews the output to ensure the map contains the critical pieces of information and has had the unnecessary features removed

Read more about this process in the guide, available to download further up the page!