Network Analyst for wayfinding in indoor environments

10-13-2013 05:17 PM
New Contributor II
Dear community,
I'm currently working in the area of indoor navigation and would like to know if there is somehow a possibility of using network analyst for wayfinding in indoor environments. In the example I've found it was required to setup the "path"-network first. I'd like to calculate these pathes "on the fly".

So lets say I'm in a room and would like to leave the building as fast as possible. Because I could be everywhere in the room, I can't setup a path-network.

Is there anything in Network Analyst I can use for?

If not:
I'm actually working with another tool (which is probably not known to anybody so I don't try to introduce it), where I calculate the necessary route-graph information. Is it somehow possible to import these information into ArcScene and NetworkAnalyst?
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5 Replies
Esri Contributor
Hi Daniel,

You're correct, Network Analyst does support 3D routing, and it requires the paths of the network to be created in a network dataset before performing analysis.

For the 2013 Esri User Conference, I set up a 3D routing service to be used by a mobile Android application. The application, which was developed by GIS Inc., used GPS coordinates to determine a location while outdoors and signatures from wifi hot spots while indoors. The xyz coordinates were sent to the service. This meant I had a similar issue to yours: users could be anywhere within a room, and they would need to be routed accordingly. I didn't want a user in the corner of a large room, for instance, to have their location snap to the network in the wrong room and get an inaccurate route.

So what I did was create a fishnet with grid cells that were 3 meters wide and that covered the convention center, the adjacent hotels, and the surrounding outdoor area.
I created another, slightly larger, fishnet and rotated it so the intersections of both fishnets/grids where coincident. (The second fishnet was slightly larger because it became the hypotenuses of the resultant triangular lattice.)
After breaking the lines and creating a network dataset, I could accurately handle any location sent in by the app.

Of course there was other processing that was required, such as

  • Buffering walls, then erasing the intersecting fishnets before creating the network dataset.

  • Creating fishnets for each floor in the convention center and the adjacent hotels.

  • Digitizing escalators, stairways, elevators, etc.

  • I also had the main hallway paths digitized. Using soft restriction network attributes, I funneled the routes from the lattice onto the main hallways. The results looked better this way in a cartographic sense.

I'm sure there are other ways to solve the same problem, but that's what I did, and it worked.

What file format are you trying to import into ArcScene?

New Contributor II
Hey Robert! First of all, thank you very much for your reply! The way you implemented it sounds really complicated and it might be a problem (time issue) for me, if I want to do this for many buildings (50+ >). But I'll try to do it in the same way for demonstration.

What file format are you trying to import into ArcScene?

Actually I'm not sure about the file format, because I don't have access to the source code and to the output yet. What I have is an application, which calculates the shortest path between two points (and takes care about walls, stairs etc.). So my idea was to use the same model for both applications, calculate the shortest path with my application and import these route-information into ArcScene (Probably just a set of coordinates?).

Edit2: I'm not sure but I might get a path network out of my application, which I have to import into ArcScene. I'll let you know as soon as I get the sourcecode and the knowledge about the path network!

Edit3: If it's not impossible to import the path network into ArcScene I would like to know if it is somehow possible to import a single graph into ArcScene? Let's just say I get a set of coordinates in a xml-file:

<Point x=1 y=2 z = 3 />
<Point x = 4 y = 4 z = 5 />

Lets assume that the coordinates are equal in both applications. Can I import this graph?

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New Contributor II
I know now the export-file format, which I want to import into ArcScene and NetworkAnalyst.

I have a xml-file for my network-dataset:

    <node x=10, y= 20, z=0, id=1 />
    <node x=20, y=10, z=0, id=2/>
    <edge start=1, end=2, passable=both>

Where x,y,z can be Latitude,Longitude,Altitude, or meter or other scales (I can adjust this parameter).

Is it possible to build a network-dataset out of this xml-file?

Thanks a lot!
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Esri Contributor
In ArcGIS, you need a network dataset to perform indoor routing, so you would need to convert your XML data into one or more feature classes, then create a network dataset from the FCs.

I've never converted XML data like yours into a feature class, but one approach would be to

  1. Use Export XML Workspace Document geoprocessing tool on a dummy feature class. This would give you the necessary XML structure needed to import your XML data into a feature class.

  2. Create an XSLT to convert your XML data to an XML file that matches the one output by the Export GP tool.

  3. Use Import XML Workspace Document GP tool to convert your data to a feature classes.

Once you have your feature classes, you would need to create the network dataset.

New Contributor II
Hi Daniel,
I just came across your post and thought I would share what I have been working on.  I recently did a presentation for GIS Day here at the University of Washington on this very topic.  I have been working off and on over the last couple years on trying to get this implemented for the UW.

We maintain all of our floorplans in CAD and convert them to GIS.  My plan is to use a hybrid CAD/FME process to convert a 2D set of routes in CAD to a 3D network in GIS.  By maintaining the routes in CAD we can update them as we make changes to the floorplans so that everything stays in sync.  With nearly 25 million square feet of space, there are always changes that need to be made.

Here is a link to my events page where I have the presentation as well as some other information.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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