Tag Archives: Building

Download A Building

16 Mar
DeadDrops USB in A Wall

Dead Drop

I have seen this image on many webpages and found it interesting. Googling it, I found the website from which it came – Dead Drops.

According to the website:

‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space. Everyone is invited to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop is installed empty except a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is open to participation.

This project made me think, what if you could plug in to a building and download that building? What if, when you plug in to the USB stick, you are presented with a local webpage (HTML file) containing access to the floor plan, maintenance logs, sensor data, etc..

Using an AutoRun script like we did for CDs – back when we used CDs – we can present the files with a web based front end without actually connecting to the web.

So why do this? Why not just put the files on the web or let someone connect to our network and look at the files?

  1. I may not want my sensitive files – floor plans – on the web.
  2. If I put them on my intranet, I have to let this person on and this opens up the possibility that they can get to other things.
  3. Of course I have a backup, but say this person deletes or corrupts the files on my intranet and I didn’t? If they delete the USB stick, I still have my originals.
  4. This lets me provide a place for a consultant, or emergency responders, to plug in and have everything they need in one place.

None of these reasons are great. The real reason to do this is because it is cool. The physically connecting a computer to a building and then seeing all the information about the building is an experience that is not obtained by going online to a website or opening a file.

But I have been asked by school districts to give them floor plans of their facilities so they can place them in a box that is accessible to first responders so that they can get information when arriving on scene. So why paper? How about a USB stick in a box with a cable they can plug in to?

Practical? Who knows.

Cool? Yup!


Geocode to Rooms in a Building

24 Oct

Continuing with the theme of GIS inside the building, in this post I will show how to geocode students to classrooms inside of a building.

First, import a CAD file to use as a base.  Once the file is in and located properly, draw the classrooms in GIS as a polygon shapefile.

The classrooms need a field that can be used as an address. Create a new field and insert the room number of each room. If you want to code more than one building at a time, then room number would not work — there cannot be duplicate addresses. In that case you would need to create unique addresses for each room — the school acronym followed by room number may be a good start.

For this example I have created a student list. Each student is named ‘Student’ plus a number and is assigned to a classroom. The list is shown below.

Create an address locator in GIS using a single field. Pick your reference data and the key field and click OK. Geocode the address list using the newly created locator. Add points to the map. Your file will look like the one below.

There is only one point in each room. If you use the INFO tool and click on a point you will see a list of all the students at this location.  To create a better visualization of our data we will count the number of points in each room.  In the point shapefile create a field called COUNT and set the value equal to 1.  Join the room shapefile with the point file based on location. The output will be a single colored room file that looks like this:

Looking at the properties of the file you will see the COUNT field summed for the number of students in each room.

The last steps are to change the SYMBOLOGY of the shapefile based on quantity, using COUNT as the field. Add a label and you will now have a color coded shapefile showing the number of students in each room.

Fire Escape Plans

20 Oct

In my last post, I mentioned that the Network Analyst toolbox in GIS could be used to create fire escape plans for buildings. In this post I will build on the last model and show how to create a fire escape plan.

The model consists of a CAD drawing with hallways drawn and converted to a network.

To find the nearest exit from any location in the building I will use the Closest Facilities tools. First, I need to create a point file marking the location of all the fire exits. Added to the model, we get:

Next, the exits point file is imported in to the closest facility tool and we place locations on each point in the building we want to find the correct exit for — shortest walk. The black squares are the locations we will solve for.

Finally, solve the problem. The results will be drawn on the map as shown below.