Introduction


The IndoorAtlas Beacon Planner (BETA) is a tool which helps you plan beacon deployments in your locations. You can use the Planner to

  • Assess the number of beacons required for your venue.
  • Based on the outline of mappable area, the Planner automatically creates a beacon installation map that evenly covers the area.
  • Optionally : Import the beacons to IndoorAtlas for positioning. Alternatively: Beacons will be automatically detected during the fingerprinting process. 


Note that the beacon locations proposed by the Planner are not used / needed for positioning, it's solely for planning the beacon setup. The signal data recorded with MapCreator is used to enable using beacons in positioning.

You can also manually place the beacons in the Planner and the Planner will compute coverage analytics. Make sure to read on the motivation to use beacons with IndoorAtlas first and beacon installation guide.


Beacon parameters can also be input through the Planner (see last sections in this guide). This feature currently supports only iBeacons.



Opening Beacon Planner


The Beacon Planner is available through the Location overview page in the IndoorAtlas web tool, as well as through this link (you need to have IndoorAtlas locations to take advantage of it).




Beacon Density

The Planner provides a few preset choices for beacon density. In the denser deployments the beacons are assumed to have lower transmission power.

Selecting the density affects mainly the first fix accuracy and convergence time, i.e. the initial accuracy you get after cold starting positioning at some x,y in the venue and the time and distance you need to walk for getting the best tracking accuracy.


Sparse density approximates the situation where you don't care about the first fix accuracy, but the devices can still hear at least one beacon everywhere in the venue to get a rough first fix. Tracking accuracy when walking is lower for a longer time/distance due to less information available for determining the device position. In other words, sparse setup minimizes the required beacon count, trading off some accuracy. In sparse density the beacon power should be set to -4dBm. The distance between beacons in the plans is about 20m.


The intermediate density tries to balance between required density of beacons and the resulting first fix and tracking accuracy. In intermediate setup the beacon power should be set to -4dBm. The distance between beacons is about 15m.


The dense setup gives both good first fix accuracy and good tracking accuracy with a shorter walk to reach the maximum accuracy of 2-5m. In dense setup the beacon power should be set to -8dBm. The distance between beacons is about 10 meters.



Creating Beacon Plans and Saving to Cloud


The created plans can be saved to the IndoorAtlas cloud. When opening the Planner, plans saved to the cloud are automatically loaded. The plans can also be exported in GeoJSON format, and the drawn walkable area can be exported as a floor plan mask image.


As the Planner is still BETA, this user interface is subject to change.



To see how the Beacon Planner works, check out the (slightly outdated) instruction video below.




Beacon Locations & IDs (beta)


Importing beacons directly to the IndoorAtlas system enables positioning without fingerprinting. In addition to importing beacons, you need to specify the walkable areas using a mask. Importing beacons can be also used to fix situations, where a venue was fingerprinted, but afterwards beacons were moved or replaced with new IDs.


There are two workflows support for specifying beacon locations and parameters: 


1) Selecting beacons on the UI and writing the beacon UUID,major,minor for each beacon

2) Importing a CSV file that contains locations & UUID,major,minor for all beacons of the venue



Workflow 1: Selecting beacons on the UI and writing the beacon IDs


Click on a beacon in the map to select it (marker turns red) and to enable the parameter input fields:

  • Proximity UUID: This must be a UUID, for example 52504d91-02e2-431f-a6b9-7504ea32f27d. A good practice is to use the same proximity UUID for all beacons in a venue.
  • Major code: This must be an integer. A good practice is to use the same major code for all beacons on the same floor, for example the floor number.
  • Minor code: Integer.

All beacons should have a unique combination of the above parameters.


The parameters, together with the beacon coordinates and floor level, can be exported as CSV, or uploaded to the IndoorAtlas cloud to be used in positioning. The parameters are also saved together with the beacon plan. The export and upload buttons are enabled only when all beacons in all saved plans in the selected venue have their parameters set. Beacon marker turns green when the beacon parameters have been set.



Workflow 2: Importing a CSV file


If you know the locations of already installed iBeacons in your venue, you can import them in CSV format through the beacon planner. The import accepts two different file formats: The first format uses the WGS geocoordinates of the beacon:

  • id: Combined identifier for the beacon containing the proximity UUID, major and minor codes in the form ibeacon_<proximityUuid>_<major>_<minor>
  • latitude: WGS84 latitude of the beacon
  • longitude: WGS84 longitude
  • level: Floor number where the beacon is installed.

For example:

ibeacon_f3f50897-143f-4dc6-bc4e-4876a6874223_123_456,51.51616837572395,-0.12700998644470954,1


The other format requires the beacon positions in pixel coordinates with respect to an IndoorAtlas floor plan image:

  • UUID: Beacon proximity UUID
  • Major: Beacon major code
  • Minor: Beacon minor code
  • Floor: Floor number where the beacon is installed
  • X: The x component of the beacon pixel coordinates (note: the origin of the pixel coordinates is at the top-left corner of the floor plan image, the x-axis points right and the y-axis points down)
  • Y: The y component of the beacon pixel coordinates
  • Tx power: The transmission power of the beacon
  • FloorPlanID: The IndoorAtlas floor plan ID in the area of which the beacon is located

Example:

3c0d9bd0-4033-44b3-a341-69a02063e025,1,2,1,100,200,-8,7f4f1067-52c4-49dc-9fe5-2e6a96aace67


Refer to the image below for an overview of the Beacon IDs & Locations workflows:





Suggested Beacon Installation Workflow


We recommend the following workflow with the Beacon Planner

  1. Create the plan with Beacon Planner, then manually tune the beacon positions to the closest wall/pillar (or any other preferred install location nearby the automatically suggested location)
  2. Save the plan e.g. with name "Floor [N] beacon plan"
  3. Take screenshot of the plan and share to your phone
  4. Plan (e.g. mentally) the route you'll walk when installing the beacons
  5. Walk around to install each beacon, checking from the image on the phone screen (optionally mark on the image the locations where you've installed a beacon)


Happy planning!