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21 May 2021

Geospatial data and the future of indoor mapping: starting with university communities

London-based start-up, Mappin Technologies, has been using OS geospatial data to improve student experiences with the impending return to campus.

What started as a student project to improve campus wayfinding has evolved into helping students reclaim the university campus experience that’s been taken from them.

As a result of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures, university students have been denied what most would consider the ‘typical’ university campus experience. Seminars have been replaced with online classes; students have been encouraged to stay home or in their halls of residence; and social interaction in general has been at an all-time low.

Adapting to the new normal

These have not been average academic years. Added to the significant effect on students’ mental health, it simply isn’t the experience students had in mind when they originally applied.

Mappin Technologies, therefore, has been using geospatial technology to help achieve the university experience they deserve, by creating a safer, post-pandemic transition process. The organisation has developed an indoor mapping system; one which enables students to access their campus, in a safe and monitored environment.

iPhone mockups of indoor mapping
Two examples of Mappin Technologies' indoor map interface.

The service can monitor space allocation and social distance compliance, provide a meeting room booking schedule, and inform students of one-way systems – a safety procedure that can often be difficult to follow, at the best of times.

This application means students can return to campus in a more protected environment. It also helps the universities themselves, as they no longer need to waste money and resources on making (and remaking) signage around campus, and then monitoring its systems to ensure procedure is being followed.

Mappin Technologies has already made its vision into a reality, having launched a pilot version for King’s College, London, last year.

Why did Mappin Technologies choose OS?

Mappin Technologies naturally wanted to create a seamless experience between indoor and outdoor spaces. However, the team found that most existing GPS technology wasn’t advanced enough, and/or was difficult to integrate with its existing model. Indoor mapping solutions had their own data sets, but didn’t include accessibility to their routes, by way of outdoor data. Essentially, Mappin Technologies had maps and an understanding of indoor positioning, but with no clear information on how to get there, and where students could go, once they were outside again.

However, by using the OS address and points of interest databases, Mappin Technologies was able integrate its existing indoor mapping data with OS outdoor mapping data, creating a fully-functioning, informative, and enjoyable user-experience all round.

"OS makes transitions from outdoor to indoor as seamless as possible."
Mappin Technologies

Benefits of OS and Geovation

Mappin Technologies joined the Geovation start-up accelerator programme in October 2020. Its teams were given training on how to utilise OS & land registry data. Founder and CEO of Mappin Technologies, Giulio Coppola, described the Geovation Showcase as a highlight in his organisation’s development. The summit allowed a chance for Mappin Technologies to meet with geospatial professionals, pitch the business ideas, and receive valuable feedback.

"One thing we really appreciated was being able to express our ideas while receiving feedback – to challenge ourselves and deliver value. The growth we’ve made in the last six months could not be possible without Geovation support."
Giulio Coppola, Founder and CEO of Mappin Technologies

Mappin Technologies has joined a collaborative community of geospatial insight and experts; OS data has helped the organisation to rapidly progress as a start-up. The organisation already feels a part of the Geovation community and wants to contribute too.

What’s next for Mappin Technologies?

Mappin Technologies is using geospatial technology to make things easier and more enjoyable for student communities, but the education sector is just one example of where its software could be beneficial. The organisation plans to keep and develop its partnership with OS & land registry, to implement its technologies elsewhere.

Already, the team has plans to use the same approach towards museums, shopping centres, airports, and hospitals. This mixture of indoor and outdoor spacing increases accessibility and enhances user experience, while also providing data analytics on customer footfall – highly valuable information to a range of different industries.

With this innovation in place and still growing, Mappin Technologies feels confident in its position and preparation for future innovations, such as the development of ‘smart buildings.’

Watch the video below and meet Mappin Technologies founder and CEO, Giulio Coppola. He explains how OS data helped create seamless user experiences, and outlines his plans for the next phase of development.

You can learn more about AddressBase and the Points of Interest database, to see how OS could benefit your organisation.

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