IndoorOSM and Wheelchair-Navigation

Posted by babalone on 29 October 2014 in English (English)

I’m currently working on a project at my university where we try to build a proof-of-concept-app (android) for indoor navigation with focus on wheelchair-users and their needs. Wheelchair-users have special needs as the width of a door might be to small for the wheelchair, stairs are not usable, ramps might be too steep, find an alternative route if an elevator is ‘out of order’. We are still in the planning phase and currently evaluating what technologies we will use. To create maps of the buildings we will most likely use IndoorOSM-features [0]. The plan is to create the building-maps from emergency-maps (German Wikipedia [1]) if we don’t get better ones. We will use those maps as background in JOSM [2] and draw the buildings with it. As those maps are created by following an official norm I hope, that there is no licensing problem with it as they are not a product of creativity or invention.

There is already a similar app for outdoor-wheelchair-navigation built at our university, but it is not officially published. We are adding this feature of indoor-navigation and both project will be merged. There are already industry-partners, who are interested in this app. This app will very likely be published some time and not just stay a research-project.


Comment from Sanderd17 on 29 October 2014 at 21:29

Buildings are the result of a creative work by the architect. And a building plan might either be a copy of that work, or a measurement of the actual building. In the second case, it can be considered a database, and it costed a substantial amount of work to make.

So you certainly can’t assume that it’s legally ok to do without more legal research.

Otoh, it doesn’t mean you can’t use OSM. You could make your maps with JOSM, just don’t upload it to OSM yet.

Since you can use OSM for private use without the share-alike requirement. And educational stuff falls often under private use.

So you’re at least saved for your work. But you won’t be able to commercialize the app with the data you added (unless you get the subtleties researched).

Your research is highly welcomed though, and it might stimulate indoor mapping.

Comment from Chris Baines on 29 October 2014 at 21:35

I have been working on doing some indoor mapping at the University of Southampton. The current way I display the data is using the leaflet-indoor plugin (which I wrote for this purpose).

If your intent is to make this free software, I would be very interested in the code.

Comment from SimonPoole on 29 October 2014 at 22:18

Note that the IndoorOSM tagging proposal should clearly no longer be used (it uses an untenable scheme for connectign floors and has various issues with tag naming), I would suggest reading up on the current proposals.

Comment from babalone on 29 October 2014 at 22:26

@Sander17: Thanks for your comment. I will tell my team, that it’s forbidden for us to upload the data we produce (simpler than talking about licenses, copyright, etc.). I think we will download the OSM-data of a defined area to test routing from street to e.g. ‘room 305 on floor 3’ at our faculty. Routing from any location to a point in a building is wanted by our users and that would be enough for this proof-of-concept. Our main-focus is routing for people that are already in a building.

@Chirs Baines: Thank you for the hint. I will look at it. I’m willing to make it free software (MIT- or Apache-license i would like, maybe dual-licence GPL + Something to have the chance of getting commercial) as this software is produced by a public university and therefore financed by tax-money. Our guiding professor doesn’t like to publish the code, but it’s the creative work of the students. Interesting question, if we can make it open-source as it’s our project and source code or if it is seen as contract-work we do for the university as part of our education.

Yeah. Two comments and mostly about licensing. :D

Comment from nubs on 7 November 2014 at 03:06

You may be interested in a similar project I worked on in college years ago. I don’t know if anything happened to it after I graduated, but you could try reaching out to Dr. Scott McCrickard to see:

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