Florence Broderick Rafael Espinar

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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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About the author
Florence Broderick

Flo is VP Marketing at CARTO, leading our Demand Generation, Content, Product Marketing and SDR teams to translate the value of Location Intelligence to existing and prospective clients, generating demand for spatial analysis use cases on our platform. Prior to joining CARTO, Flo was Global Head of Marketing and Communications for LUCA, Telefónica's specialist Big Data unit.

More posts from Florence Broderick
About the author
Rafael Espinar

GIS Technician at CARTO

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