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Frequently asked questions about ArcGIS Indoors and indoor mapping

What is ArcGIS Indoors and why do you need a GIS for the interior of your buildings? Did you know that location intelligence can be used for asset mapping, spatial planning, and work order management? In this blog post we answer questions about how Indoors can help building managers better understand, maintain, and operate their work environment.

On June 1 and June 8, we held the ArcGIS Indoors for Smart Building Management webinar. The recording is available for those who were not able to attend or would like to view the presentation again.

This blog post covers some frequently asked questions about ArcGIS Indoors.

Q: Does the current version of Indoors require ArcGIS GeoEvent Server?

A: At its foundation,  Indoors is hosted, configured and licensed through ArcGIS Enterprise. Indoors comes with all the components for a base deployment of ArcGIS Enterprise Advanced, the spatiotemporal big data store and GeoEvent Server as an option to enable device tracking and real-time analytics. On top of ArcGIS Enterprise, Indoors includes the Indoors web and mobile applications, ArcGIS Web AppBuilder,  ArcGIS Dashboards, ArcGIS Collector, and ArcGIS Survey123. Also included is ArcGIS Pro Advanced, the Indoors geoprocessing toolbox, and the ArcGIS Pro extensions necessary to run theese tools and publish content.  

As of the June 2020 release of ArcGIS Online, Indoors is also available as a software as a service (SaaS) offering in ArcGIS Online. This comes as an alternative to the on-premises deployment of Indoors with ArcGIS Enterprise.

Q: Are the core floor plans extracted from CAD, Revit or created directly inside ArcGIS Indoors and ArcGIS Pro?

A: When your organization is licensed with the Indoors extension, you have access to a geoprocessing tool that imports floor plans from CAD files into an indoor dataset that conforms to the  Indoors information model. The output of this tool can be used to create floor-aware maps for use in floor-aware apps, as well as to generate an indoor network for routing.

Q: Is Cityworks an add-on to Indoors?

A: Indoors and Cityworks work together, so we have Cityworks for asset management that overlaps with the Indoors model. The integration method is located at the mobile application level, making it possible to visualize, modify, and create new Cityworks activities from a mobile application of Indoors. Indoors extends the same functionality and design to the main web application and allows users of the desktop application back in the office to see where already scheduled activities are located, as well as create new activities.

Q: Can Indoors seamlessly connect with BIM data?

A: There are several formats seen in the world of BIM modeling - Civil 3D and Revit primarily. The Indoors conversion and import tools (run in ArcGIS Pro) are designed to read CAD data types (DWG, DGN). It's also possible to model Revit data in ArcGIS Pro, almost as easy as dragging and dropping into your map.

The Indoors toolbox includes a geoprocessing tool that easily batch converts Revit floor plans to Indoors data layers. To learn more, read this blog post “These 5 Easy Steps Will Convert Autodesk® Revit® Floorplans to ArcGIS Indoors Maps”.

Q: Is the space reservation system an integrated feature of Indoors?

A: The integration with Office365 supports this, but very soon, there won't be a need for an integration with Office365 if the organization doesn't need it. This will be a feature built into a future release of Indoors. Stay tuned!

Q: What do we need to get started with Indoors? Do we need ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Pro or another product?

A: First, you will need to compile all your building asset and floorplan information, which is typically stored as CAD files, Excel spreadsheets or BIM files. Indoors is a suite of products. When you buy it, you have all the ArcGIS products you need.

You will get ArcGIS Enterprise Advanced, ArcGIS Pro users, all with the Indoors license enabled to be able to create and organize your indoor maps. To host your maps, networks and other data layers, you will get the templates for web applications, Space Planner, and mobile app.

Q: What types of customers use Indoors?

A: In the United States, Indoors customers include state and local governments, airports, hospitals, and different types of corporate campuses to name a few. In Canada, we have some proof of concepts underway. Contact your account manager to learn more about!

Q: If you have already implemented Indoors, what steps do you need to take to activate Space Planner's capabilities?

A: The recommendations are:

- Make sure that the resources are configured and that Office365 has proper email addresses for booking workspaces.

- Make sure that the Indoors data uses the latest ArcGIS Pro layers, as it has the necessary schema to be able to use the Space Planner application for the configuration of workspaces and collaborative spaces, such as hotel zones and hot desks .

- Make sure that you have enabled ArcGIS Online hosted layers for your Units, People, and Zones tables. Make sure enterprise geodatabases are configured to handle branch versioning for these layers.

- Finally, update your ArcGIS Enterprise to have the latest version!

Here are some additional resources on ArcGIS Indoors.

- ArcGIS Indoors Help

- ArcGIS Indoors Fundamentals

- Blog posts on ArcGIS Indoors

- ArcGIS Indoors learning videos

- Esri Canada Video: 5 Questions with Vanessa and Hannah about ArcGIS Indoors

This blog post was written in French by Audrey Beaudoin-Arcand and can be viewed here.