CALCULATING LEAST RISK PATHS IN 3D INDOOR SPACE
Keywords: Indoor navigation, 3D algorithms, cognitive wayfinding
Abstract. Over the last couple of years, research on indoor environments has gained a fresh impetus; more specifically applications that support navigation and wayfinding have become one of the booming industries. Indoor navigation research currently covers the technological aspect of indoor positioning and the modelling of indoor space. The algorithmic development to support navigation has so far been left mostly untouched, as most applications mainly rely on adapting Dijkstra's shortest path algorithm to an indoor network. However, alternative algorithms for outdoor navigation have been proposed adding a more cognitive notion to the calculated paths and as such adhering to the natural wayfinding behaviour (e.g. simplest paths, least risk paths). These algorithms are currently restricted to outdoor applications. The need for indoor cognitive algorithms is highlighted by a more challenged navigation and orientation due to the specific indoor structure (e.g. fragmentation, less visibility, confined areas…). As such, the clarity and easiness of route instructions is of paramount importance when distributing indoor routes. A shortest or fastest path indoors not necessarily aligns with the cognitive mapping of the building. Therefore, the aim of this research is to extend those richer cognitive algorithms to three-dimensional indoor environments. More specifically for this paper, we will focus on the application of the least risk path algorithm of Grum (2005) to an indoor space. The algorithm as proposed by Grum (2005) is duplicated and tested in a complex multi-storey building. The results of several least risk path calculations are compared to the shortest paths in indoor environments in terms of total length, improvement in route description complexity and number of turns. Several scenarios are tested in this comparison: paths covering a single floor, paths crossing several building wings and/or floors. Adjustments to the algorithm are proposed to be more aligned to the specific structure of indoor environments (e.g. no turn restrictions, restricted usage of rooms, vertical movement) and common wayfinding strategies indoors. In a later stage, other cognitive algorithms will be implemented and tested in both an indoor and combined indoor-outdoor setting, in an effort to improve the overall user experience during navigation in indoor environments.