This blog is contributed by Mathieu Gérard – Mapwize
People use maps every day! In just a few clicks, we now have access to a detailed view of every corner of the planet – roads, satellite images, street views, and extensive details of any point of interest. We use navigation in our car wherever we go. We have access to live traffic, and constantly get optimal directions. And when we are looking for a store, a restaurant, or a hotel, we expect to have them ranked by distance from our exact location. It’s so hard to remember that just 20 years ago we only had paper maps.
Still, do you recall the last time you had to find your way in a hospital? Or when you were looking for a meeting room, a class room, a product in a large supermarket, or a booth at a large event? Now is the time to bring digital location services inside buildings.
Cisco APIs and Mapwize SDK Make Location Data Accessible – Indoors!
At Mapwize, we believe that mapping is fundamental for developing digital services inside buildings, and that’s why we are creating an easy to use indoor mapping platform. Our studio allows building managers to quickly digitize their blueprints, and our SDKs enable developers to easily integrate those maps into their web and mobile applications.
Of course, the revolution of outdoor mapping and navigation would not have been the same without the GPS. By listening to signals emitted by a constellation of satellites, the simplest object can now compute its precise location on the planet. Inside buildings is a different story, where poor accuracy makes it unusable for most use-cases. Therefore, new solutions are required to position users and objects indoors.
One of the best solutions for indoor positioning is using Wi-Fi. To detect the Wi-Fi networks they can connect to, devices emit probe requests which are heard by the access points. By measuring the signal strength received at each access points, it becomes possible to estimate the position of the device. Such location service is directly available for Cisco Meraki access points and can be activated for all other Cisco Unified Wireless Networking access points using the Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) solution. Thanks to the infrastructure APIs that Cisco is making available to developers, the location data is accessible and can be used to position on the map any Wi-Fi enabled object.
We are really excited to see more and more APIs becoming available at Cisco. It’s an incredible source of data that is just asking to be exploited. Have you ever wished you could see in real time the queue to get food at a restaurant or to go through security at an airport? Curious to know how long visitors spend in different areas of a museum? There are still so many services that can be invented from rich location data. Thanks to the DevNet team, you have access to documentation and sample code for those APIs, as well as real and virtual sandbox environments so you don’t need an expensive deployment to start coding. Adding in support from Cisco engineers and the developer community, getting started was a cinch!
We started working with the Cisco Meraki Location APIs during a Cisco hackathon in Paris. Not only did we win, but it was an awesome way to meet the DevNet team. Everything we did during those 3 intensive days was released in open-source. Since then, we constantly kept improving it, still in open-source, and it turned into a complete indoor location framework. We truly believe in the power of open-source to accelerate the development of a framework and to speed up its adoption by the developer community. If you’d like to know more, take a look at indoorlocation.io. In particular you might want to take a look at the Meraki connectors and CMX connectors on GitHub.
The building digitalization has started and with the Cisco APIs, the Mapwize tools/maps, and your imagination, the possibilities are endless. Curious to know more, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org