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Tiles: high resolution indoor mapping with Situm

Situm Dashboard provides a full-featured cartography management system for buildings. With Situm, you can create floorplans, define points of interest (e.g. a doctor’s office or a boarding gate), draw geofences (e.g. the perimeter of a shop or the area where you want to trigger geolocated coupons) and more. All this cartography can be easily consumed to build indoor navigation & indoor mapping mobile and web apps using our mobile SDKs, mobile visual modules, REST APIs and Javascript Libraries.

We’re happy to announce that we’ve introduced raster map tiles support to our cartography management system! Tiles will allow you to upload really large floorplans while maintaining a high display quality: your app’s users will be thrilled!

Indoor mapping: building cartography is all about floorplans

Floorplans are one of the most important cartography elements. They provide a visual representation of each floor, so the user can know where he is, his way around, and have a sense of the building elements at a glance. Situm has always supported raster floorplans, plain PNG/JPEG images georeferenced on top of the world map using Situm Dashboard. They are simple and effective, but have one important restriction: their resolution is upper limited to 4096×4096 pixels.

We imposed this restriction because mobile libraries such as Google Maps have a hard time when overlaying floorplan images bigger than this size: your app may become unresponsive or even crash. This means that, if your building’s floorplans are bigger than, say 500×500 meters, the image resolution may not be enough and small details will not be displayed correctly (e.g. they will be blurred out or excessively pixelated).

Indoor maps.
Because of the fixed size, large building plans may look pixelated when zoomed in.

How to create indoor floorplans with high resolution: raster tiles to the rescue!

Well… not anymore! We are happy to announce that from now on we are supporting raster tiles! Tiles are just a way of dividing & displaying high-resolution images very efficiently. At each zoom level, the image is divided on a set of squared areas or tiles. The key idea is that all tiles have the same resolution (independently of the zoom level), which guarantees a constant real-size / image-resolution ratio on each tile.

Take for example the following image: for that zoom level, the floorplan is divided in 6 x 5 tiles of constant size (usually, 512×512 pixels).

Indoor mapping with high resolution.

As we zoom in, we focus on a particular area, which is itself divided into squared tiled as well. Since these smaller areas also have the same resolution, we can in fact represent greater levels of detail. And since the mobile or web viewer downloads and displays only the required tiles for each particular area/zoom level, the whole process is really efficient & fast!

Great for huge venues

Raster tiles will allow you to display arbitrarily large venues such as big airports & hospitals, huge shopping malls, and even wide outdoor venues such as university & corporate campuses, theme parks or race tracks.

Once the tiles maps are generated & hosted in Situm, you will be able to consume them using our SDKs & REST APIs. Tiles can be easily displayed with popular visualization librares such as Google Maps or Mapbox, so if you have developed a Situm-based app already, moving to tiles will be just a few lines of code.

Try indoor mapping for yourself

Raster tiles are not available through the Free Trial version. But if you have a really big venue, just get in touch with us and we will set everything up for you!

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