Azure Maps Creator: Turn your building’s floor plans into a smart canvas


Microsoft adds tools to Azure Maps that take your building plans and make them into interior maps.

We’ve all grown used to maps on the internet; instead of paper atlases and dedicated GPS hardware, we now navigate with smartphones and tablets. Companies like Microsoft and Google have digitised the world, providing us with a 3D view of the infrastructure around us.

They’ve even gone some of the way to digitising the interiors of buildings, working with malls and large department stores to help people find their way to stores. It’s a process that has required close partnerships, working to take interior plans and add them to external building shapes. That’s a complex process, which takes time — but what if you could make your own interior maps without needing a partnership, and use that data in your apps?

SEE: Top cloud providers in 2020: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, hybrid, SaaS players (TechRepublic)

Microsoft’s Azure Maps is a platform for building your own mapping applications, offering a backend with mapping tiles and tools for adding overlays, routing vehicles (especially commercial transport), and providing demographic and other information. It’s a growing platform, with a competitive pricing model that makes it an attractive option for anyone wanting to add mapping data to an application, on the web or on PCs and mobile devices.

Introducing Azure Maps Creator

One of its most recent additions to Azure Maps is a new tool for building your own indoor mapping and using it in your own applications. Azure Maps Creator works with existing building drawings to add a new layer to your maps, converting uploaded data to its own formats and building map data from your drawings. Map data is turned into vector format tiles, ready for display, with the option of adding your own overlay data, for example from IoT building monitors.

There are restrictions on the files you can use for your mapping data. Maps will need to be uploaded as DWG files, which is AutoCAD’s standard format. Most CAD packages can produce DWG, but you may prefer to pass any drawings through AutoCAD to ensure that Microsoft’s import service is getting the correct data. Drawings are packaged in a ZIP file along with a manifest that describes the data associated with a building or site. You can only submit files for one location at a time.

Intelligent Spaces — an idea it’s been talking about for years.

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