FM Articles

Leveraging Interactive Maps


As many know, the layout of varying facilities can be confusing to anyone ranging from new hires and visitors to the most seasoned employees. This confusion has only compounded over recent years, mainly due to the increased employee turnover caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the facility management industry is expected to grow to $76.3 Billion by 2026, now is the time for organizations to ensure they have the technology in place to increase the accessibility of their facilities. This is where interactive 3D maps enter the equation. Employed the right way, and promoted through the right channels, interactive 3D maps take the mystery out of any facility. These maps uniquely combine visual and informational content, immerse audiences into the visual experience, and communicate in-depth technical information to engage relevant audiences.

There are several ways facility managers can utilize interactive 3D maps to streamline inefficiencies, boost production, increase safety, and market their facility to potential clients.

Data From 3 Dimensions
Like traditional maps, the purpose of a digital and interactive 3D map experience is to make it easier for people to find relevant places. However, an interactive 3D map takes it to the next level by providing facility managers with real-time data. This data can be critical for any organization’s efforts to boost production and increase safety.

The benefits of this data are night and day when an emergency or accident occurs in or near a facility. With the touch of a button, any user with access to the map can find the location of a facility’s defibrillators, Evacuation or Shelter in Place points, and local emergency contact information.

Along with providing relevant information in the case of an emergency or accident, interactive maps can show planned maintenance and facility schedules. With this data, facility operation teams will have the relevant information needed to boost productivity in their days, and visitors can plan trips accordingly.

It’s All About Wayfinding
In today’s world, an interactive map’s most significant benefit is probably the most well-known: finding a location.

With interactive 3D maps, the days of lost employees or visitors are gone. Facilities can be for anyone; imagine the amount of money lost from productivity just from employees figuring out the labyrinth of a facility. This is where the benefit of interior wayfinding comes into play. Users can create a precise route from any “point a to b” on the grounds by enabling interior wayfinding on an interactive map. Interactive maps can also streamline parking and other transportation routes. With these features enabled, users can direct delivery drivers to the right bay or guide new hires and visitors to their orientation room. The possibilities of an interactive map are endless and can be utilized in various ways to increase a facility’s productivity.

While the accessibility of your facility isn’t to be understated, growing competition in the facilities market means marketing departments play a greater role in growing your business during the next decade. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that virtual meetings can be just as impactful as in-person. As we move forward, facility managers and owners should prepare to showcase their facilities to potential clients virtually using their existing interactive 3D layouts. Despite being virtual, you can make these client introductions equally, if not more valuable.

Take a Tour
Just like we want facilities to be accessible in person, virtual tours should be easily navigable for any end-user and provide all relevant information for clients. It also allows facilities to customize their visuals to showcase their brand.

We have seen facilities succeed in this endeavor by utilizing customized tour stops that allow users to dive deeper into the area and provide additional images and data. This gives potential clients the ability to feel like they’ve physically been there and have a grasp of the space. But while that information is essential to provide, it’s best to ensure that any user can absorb the information despite potential disabilities. It’s always best practice to include ALT text, audio narration, and typed text on any piece of digital information.

Finally, by optimizing the informational components of your virtual tours to include high-ranking keywords, you can increase your search engine optimization (SEO), hopefully improving your inbound sales queue. The key here is not just describing what audiences have already seen on screen but using the features to tell a comprehensive story of what your facility provides.

Technology isn’t going anywhere, and when used correctly, it can significantly benefit facilities and operations teams. Interactive 3D maps can help streamline operations with the right processes and tools, boost efficiencies, and increase safety. In the meantime, it can be beneficial to utilize that same technology to improve the marketing of your facilities in this ever-growing competitive space.

Gordon Boyes is the CEO of Concept3D, the leader in virtual tours and interactive maps serving over 400 higher education institutions.