02 – Wayfinding

Guiding customers to their favorite shop in a shopping mall, tourists to their boarding gate in an airport, or patients to their doctor’s office in a hospital: wayfinding is one of the most popular Situm use cases. Situm provides a set of functionalities that make it possible to create wayfinding apps in no time, or even to integrate wayfinding into existing apps without much effort.

Situm SDKs and visual components (Situm WYF) #

Using Situm SDKs, developers will have access to every Situm wayfinding functionality. Specifically, they will be able to:

  1. Access all the building cartography, including floorplans, points of interest and geofences.
  2. Compute a route from A to B with different flavors: shortest route, accesible route for people with mobility dissabilities, etc.
  3. Generate turn-by-turn indications and represent them on top of the floorplan, as well as in text and voice format.
  4. Re-route the user in case she goes out of route.
  5. Show the route progress and remaining distance.

Situm WYF visual components allow developers to embed in their apps a ready-to-integrate wayfinding experience, that includes all the above.

Cartography #

Through Situm Dashboard, you will be able to configure the cartography of your building. This includes floorplans, points of interest, geofences and routes.

This cartography can be later accessed by your users from mobile apps that use Situm SDK, or even from web applications, BI systems or digital kiosks that integrate our REST APIs. Not only that, any change in your cartography will be automatically propagated to all these devices (smartphones and web browsers) so your users have access to the most up-to-date information.

Floorplan management menu
POIs management menu

Geofences management menu
Paths management menu

In-phone computing #

Even if your users do not have connectivity at all times, Situm will work without any issue. This means that Situm will keep working even if the user is in an area without proper connectivity, or even if the smartphone is in airplane mode. This is because Situm’s algorithms have been optimized to be computed even in the least powerful devices, without needing to send information to Situm cloud. Situm only needs to download the building information at first (cartography, positioning model, etc.), and that’s it!

Routes #

Computing the shortest route #

As shown in the following figure, Situm can compute the shortest route from point A to point B within a building: specific coordinates, points of interest, etc.

Route from point A to point B

Even more, Situm is able to compute multi-floor routes. This means that points A and B do not have to be on the same floor, Situm can compute routes that traverse multiple floors. 

Route from point A on the first floor…
….to point B on the second floor

Turn-by-turn indications #

Situm also generates, for each route

  • As a set of displacements (straight lines) that the user has to follow. These lines can be represented on top of the floorplan of the building.
  • As a set of instructions (“Advance 100 meters”, “Turn right”, etc.) that can be displayed in text or as voice commands (using the Android/iOS standard text-to-speech utilities).

For instance, in the following figure the user has computed a route from its location (blue arrow) to a point of interest (shop icon). The route is represented as a dotted line and the first instructions are shown (“Go ahead for 10 meters”, then “Turn left”).

How does Situm generate turn-by-turn indications #

An indication is nothing but the action that the user must perform in order to advance in the route:

  1. Action type. The action that the user must perform. There are three main actions: turn, go ahead, and change floor.
  2. Orientation. Change of orientation that the user must perform. 
  3. Distance. Distance that the user must walk until the next indication.

For instance, if the user is heading towards the advance direction of the route, Situm will generate a “Go ahead for 20 meters” instruction (or any other distance). In another case, Situm will generate a “Turn left”, “Turn around” or “Turn right” indication.

Example of how does Situm generate turn-by-turn indications depending on the user performing

Situm computes the instructions as shown in the following figure. Initially, Situm computes the route and a set of indications (initial set of indications). This set is not static: on the contrary, it is continuously reevaluated taken into account where the user is and the orientation that she is facing. Every time, Situm recomputes not only the current indication but the whole set. This means that even if the user doesn’t follow the indications correctly (e.g. takes a left turn instead of a right turn, like in the figure), Situm will always provide the right set of indications.

Example of how does Situm computes the instructions

The following figure shows an example app using those indications. The user location and orientation is represented by a blue arrow and the destination is the information point. In this example, the app shows the first instructions in 3 different situations.  

Available languages #

Situm can show the indications in five different languages: English, Spanish, French, Japanese and Arabic. The language will be inferred automatically from the locale of your smartphone, selecting English by default or one of the other languages depending on the selected language for your smartphone. If you have further language requirements, we can also show you how to achieve them.

Voice indications #

Situm textual indications can be translated to voice instructions using the standard Android and iOS text-to-speech tools.

Right-to-left navigation #

With the addition of the Arabic language, Situm WYF now implements the Right-to-left navigation that is common in that language. Here is some screenshots of how the appearance will change if RTL navigation is enabled:

Re-routing #

Situm is constantly checking whether the user is following the route and, otherwise, computes a new route or instructions.

User goes out of route #

At any moment, an user may go out the route that she is following. For instance, she might continue through a corridor when she should take a left. Situm detects these situations and recomputes the new route automatically. Sometimes, the route will be the same as before (therefore, Situm will inform the user to turn around and proceed with the previous route). Other times, the old route will no longer be the shortest one, and a new optimal route will be computed.  

The following figure shows an example of such situations. The user location & orientation is represented by the blue arrow and the destination is the “WC”. The user is following the shortest route (left), but for some reason, she turns around and starts walking in an opposite direction (left). After a while, a new shortest route is recomputed (right).

User direction is contrary to the route direction advance #

A special case of re-routing is when the user is not heading in the advanced direction of the route. For instance, she might be heading on the opposite direction. In this case, Situm will not recompute the whole route but only the instructions: this user will be told to “Turn around” to continue with the route.

This is what happens in the previous figure (center). More details in the Turn-by-turn indications Section.

Remaining distance #

Situm can also compute the distance required to achieve the next step, and even the distance to the final point and the estimated time that the user will need to get there. This is shown in the following figure. In order to get to “WC”, the user must walk 65 meters (a), which will take her approximately 2 minutes (b), arriving at 13:22 (c). To start, she must go ahead for 10 meters (d).

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