GIS Indoor Mapping: Workplace Social Distancing


We explore how GIS Indoor Mapping Software can help organizations on their return to work, ensuring best practice in social distancing & contact tracing.

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GIS Indoor Mapping: Workplace Social Distancing

As many of us start to slowly emerge from weeks and months of lockdown  many large companies are working out how we return to offices  factories  restaurants and large commercial spaces. For many  the dialogue has shifted from self-isolation and lockdown to focusing on social distancing and the growing opportunity of contact-tracing as we work out what the new normal looks like in our workplace.

We already saw how relevant location was during the rapid spread of COVID-19  but now  as the curve flattens in many countries - location analytics has a new role to play  and back-to-work strategies revolve around one key distance: 2 metres.

Many of our clients are already using CARTO as their GIS indoor mapping software to plan staggered returns and shifts  seeing how their workspaces can be used and cleaned effectively - ensuring employing safety at all times.

How can you plan your company’s return to work?

This week we spoke to our clients  Perkins and Will  an interdisciplinary  research-based architecture and design firm. Their R&D team has carried out significant research into how indoor spatial analysis can be valuable in helping us understand how workers use space  well before a global health pandemic was top of mind for office management.

With 21 studios across North America  Perkins and Will has set up return to studio task forces for each location in a bid to automate presence tracking with a series of data-driven dashboards and apps to ensure the safety of their employees.

Here you can see the dashboard they created using CARTO Builder:

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How can indoor mapping solutions help?

Using a simple dashboard like this has allowed Perkins and Will’s return to studio task forces to:

  • See high-level floor occupancy to maintain social distancing practices.
  • Identify which workstations are off-limits.
  • Track who is scheduled to be in the studio at any given time.
  • Organize a plan to use a checkerboard pattern for workstations  ensuring employees can maintain a safe distance.
  • Determine conference room occupancy given new social distancing rules.
  • Turn collaborative areas into touchdown spaces (which will need more rigorous cleaning between uses).
  • Visualize where mobile seating can be incorporated.
  • Integrate with apps to determine whether  remote employees can or should  cede their desk to another colleague.
  • Allow employees to share if they have symptoms or health issues  enabling contact tracing in case of infection.
  • Compare how social distancing measures will vary on different floors in each studio.

In the forthcoming weeks and months they will also be connecting to their existing systems (via the Microsoft Graph API) to ensure they capture data effectively  further improving the employee experience as we gradually return to the new normal.

Their team has published their findings and best practices in this handy Roadmap to Return Guide  allowing clients to see how data can guide a safe  research-based workplace return.

Flow Analysis Applications

Of course  for many returning to work - it won’t be a question of a corporate office. We are also seeing other industries such as manufacturing  events and hospitality turning to indoor solutions to understand how they can monitor and analyze people flow.

Key questions for this industry will include:

  • How many individuals can attend the event given the size of indoor and outdoor spaces at the venue?
  • Are attendees / fans complying with social distancing measures?
  • Does our flow system optimize routes in and out of a location to prevent social distancing breaches?
  • How often should we clean certain locations that have more footfall?
  • Where should we locate food stands?

Here you can see an example from a tradeshow  well before the perils of COVID-19 struck:

Some more examples from IFEMA show an animated heat map with the concentrations of people within the exhibition space during a typical day as well as a static map showing the total concentration of people over the entire day. These were created by importing shapefiles into CARTO Builder.

Need help with your indoor mapping needs?

With office management teams stretched to respond to new regulation  ensure new hygiene standards and communicate effectively with employees  it can be challenging to also get your indoor mapping strategy off the ground. If you are looking to go beyond simple mapping and use digital contact tracing  visualization can be a key component to ensure your program is efficient.

Having worked extensively with some of the largest department stores  commercial Real Estate firms and airport management companies internationally  our Professional Services team are ready to support your organization in setting up GIS indoor mapping solutions that can ensure the health and safety of your employees.

Discover how GIS Indoor Mapping can support your return to work program

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