On Screen Keyboard Open Sourced

January 25, 2019

3D Wayfinder uses a in-house built JavaScript Keyboard for search input. A On Screen Keyboard (Keyboard later on) is used when there is no physical keyboard. For security and ease of use reasons we can’t use the Operating Systems builtin Keyboard.

3D Wayfinder in-house built JavaScript Keyboard for search input on screen.
Norwegian keyboard

Previously we used our own User Interface library to manage the state of our applications. But times have moved on and we are now using other more popular and powerful open source libraries like AngularJS and VueJS. We managed to use the old Keyboard also with these libraries. But it wasn’t very handy and meant that we had to import libraries that were not necessary for whole project (eg jQuery).

So we decided to get free of 3rd party libraries and make it easy to install via npm (nodejs package manager).

Our On Screen Keyboard is usable with any UI library that supports importing ES6 module formats. You can define Your own keyboard layouts and actions with a JSON layout file. So we can have any language that we ever need and also make also fully custom keyboards that only a number pad or have special buttons for custom actions. Also the Keyboard itself allows to switch the layout.

Check out the GitHub page.

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Using widgets in wayfinding application

April 13, 2018

Wayfinding applications are not just maps with “You Are Here” dot anymore. There are many possible functionalities and widgets that our customers prefer to see on their wayfinding applications. 3D Wayfinders HTML-based user interface makes it really easy to add and use such widgets in wayfinding application.

As wayfinding kiosks are usually in visible places. Visitors would also like to find other kind of information than the building map and directory listing. Large shopping malls are usually accessible via intercity bus or metro stations. It is important to find the commuting schedules. Also in larger modern shopping malls. There are integrated cinemas, which would also like to show their programme.

Nowadays people have smartphones, that can show weather forecast and date beside the clock. But still one of the things our customers are asking for quite often. This is a clock integrated to the wayfinding application.

wayfinder widgets

We have created a NPM package ‘ng.clock’ for the widget. It can be found at https://www.npmjs.com/package/ng.clock. Demo of the clocks can be found here https://codepen.io/tonister/pen/qpyBgQ. This clock widget is made as an AngularJS 1.x Directive. The choice to use AngularJS is due to the fact that almost all our latest templates have been created using AngularJS.

3D Wayfinder user interface is created with HTML. It is easy to implement any widget or integrate bus or cinema schedules inside wayfinding application user interface. Although it might be good to mention that for some of these features the API licenses are not free. If they are free then they are very limited.

Thanks to HTML5 based layouts it is easy to integrate different kind of widgets in wayfinding application. For example exchange rates, events, news, weather forecasts, social media feeds, CAP alerts, time remaining till closing.

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Wayfinding kiosks are part of renovating a mall

January 4, 2018

Harbour placed shopping mall Nautica has got a new name and a new look. After rebuilding the shopping mall, two wayfinding kiosks were also placed. Although the mall is not large, the wayfinding feature is really important for them.

Nautica-kaubanduskeskus

Nautica mall in Tallinn, Estonia reopened in the end of 2017. It has only about 60 shops but wayfinding kiosks are more important than ever after the renovations. Old shops are in new places, new shops have been advertised but neither the old or new clients know where to find them.

In Nautica things are made even more difficult. Because a new floor was added and most of the restaurants, ATM-s and bathrooms are placed there.

Kiosks in Nautica are simple and practical. They don’t take a lots of room and their slanted design indicates immediately that the screen. Even though it might have an advertisement as a screensaver – is meant for customers to use.

nautica_wf_kiosk

Kiosks are conveniently placed by the doors of the two main entrances. These are the first things that every customer sees when they enter. Placement like this makes it easy for visitors to notice. They don’t need to start looking for maps or signs when they are not sure where they should go.

It is also practical because it’s more likely for the visitor to take notice of the kiosk right after entering than in the middle of the busy mall. So when they need to use it later, it’s easier for them to remember where to find it.

nautica_kiosk

The design for the new template was provided by the mall. We only needed to bring it into reality. They wanted a stylish and simple look with clear and easy to use interface. They also wanted to have all the shop names displayed on default screensaver, slowly rolling by on the screen. This animation with shop logos also works on map view. If the customer hasn’t touched the screen for a little while.

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New top view feature in our editor

January 2, 2018

Sometimes it’s the small things that make all the difference. New “Toggle top view” feature in 3D Wayfinders administration panels editor is a useful tool that will give needed help to our users.

Toggle top view shows all the maps straight from the top and it works with both 2D and 3D maps. While this feature is selected, the rotation is disabled. This is most useful when marking paths on the map. It could also be used if you want to set kiosk view straight from the top on 3D maps.

New feature in editor

“Toggle top view” can be found on the top of the editor under “Settings“.

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3D model converting problems partially fixed

November 8, 2017

In recent days, we were having problems with 3D model converter. These problems are partially fixed now, so converting non-corrupted 3D files shouldn’t cause any interruption anymore.

3D Wayfinder’s model file converter has stopped quite often lately, when converting corrupted 3D floor-plan files. Every time converter stopped, we had to start the process manually and clean the converting queue.
All 3D files are converted to JSON format, so they can be load in 3D Wayfinder. Our converter supports many 3D file formats, most common are FBX and DAE.
The problems were with couple of models, that caused invalid JSON when converting.
We have added error catching for this, so the rest of the converting process can resume and these corrupted models don’t interrupt other 3D models to be converted.
If converting of 3D floorplan model fails, you’ll get “ERROR” response in 3D Wayfinder Administration:

3D_model_converting_error

Other reasons, that 3D files couldn’t be converted are mainly caused by using non-UTF characters in mesh names.

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3D Wayfinder user manual is updated

September 28, 2017

Many things in our new administration panel work a little bit differently than they used to. If you need help to figure things out, check 3D Wayfinder user manual.

User Manual

We have updated all the topics and we add information when new features are added. You can find 3D Wayfinder user manual from our web page under “Docs” from main menu or you can use the direct link https://3dwayfinder.com/documentation/user-manual/

User manual for our previous administration panel is also still available, you can find it here: https://3dwayfinder.com/documentation/user-manual/#5

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New administration panel is up and working

September 7, 2017

It has taken some time and lots of effort but we have finally made it. New 3D Wayfinder administration panel is finally online and usable for all clients.

new admin

We have made many smaller and bigger improvements to make 3D Wayfinder administration panel  easier to use. Especially for new clients. For example the editor has been changed to make it more logical. All the materials have previews for better overview and managing of 2D maps is more convenient.

It should also be more comfortable for those who prefer to use our app on smartphones or tablets.

There are still some kinks to straighten out so if you notice something that isn’t working the way it is supposed to, let us know.

“Sign in” leads straight to new administration panel but if you prefer to use the old one, go to old.3dwayfinder.com or use the link at the bottom of the sign in page. 

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Keeping floor plan editor idle in the background

August 1, 2017

The new 3D Wayfinder Administration Panel is centered more around the floor plan editor. To provide better usability we keep the 3D editor idle when moving away to other pages. So switching between editor and other views is much faster now.

The new Administration Panel has been publicly available for testing since the beginning of this year. At the end of the summer we will only support the new administration panel. Although the current administration environment will be available for some time.

Loading the 3D floor plan editor takes a couple of seconds because we need to load 3D floor-plans models and also additional editor tools. Now when the editor is always in the background. We do not need to load the 3D editor again. This makes the usage more faster and user friendly.

new 3D floorplan editor

Our new administrator panel is being built on Angularjs. To achieve loading of editor once we have created the service that holds the canvas element. It is also attached our editor API to it. Controller then adds canvas to the editor view and provides connection to API actions.

To see and test new Administration panel and floor plan editor, please log in here. If you don’t have an account with 3D Wayfinder, you can create it here for free.

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Indoor positioning demo with custom floors and iBeacons

July 18, 2017

Now it is possible to order indoor positioning demo application. For demo we will send you required amount of iBeacons devices and create custom 2D or 3D floor plan. With 3D Wayfinder mobile application it is possible to see indoor positioning with wayfinding functionality.

iBeacons are Bluetooth low energy (BLE) devices that can broadcast their identifier to nearby portable electronic devices such as mobile phones or tablets. Also iBeacons don’t cost much and their batteries can last over year which makes them perfect for indoor positioning.

 beacon1_2

We can provide you with a custom demo map with pre-installed iBeacon locations. We will also send beacons for the demo floor plan, usually 3-6 is enough for a 1-2 room demo.  

By installing 3D Wayfinder mobile app, you can test and see iBeacon-based positioning on your real building. To order demo map with beacons, please fill the request form.

Read more about 3D Wayfinder mobile app, iBeacons and indoor positioning.

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Choosing the Best Wayfinding Software

July 5, 2017

There are lots of different wayfinding software and it might be difficult to decide which solution to pick. We have used our experience and gathered some suggestions that will help you choose the best wayfinding application.

Over all the best wayfinding software application is always the one that adapts exactly to your specific needs. Having more options and can help to cater this.

Best Wayfinding software should be..

Wayfinding application should be easily integrated with other applications. One of the most common integration is showing social media content in wayfinding applications. As shopping malls and other public building usually have their news already on Twitter, they would like to include the news feed also in wayfinding.

path-top-down-view

Have a look at our wayfinding possibilities here.

You can choose to buy the product and do all the hosting and managing yourself. Or you can pay for this service. In that case make sure how much you can control the app once it’s up and running. Are you able to change the opening and closing times yourself? Can you add a new location and generate a path way? Or do you need to contact the company for every little change.

Look and feel customization is also something that should be provided. Choosing from existing templates is more cost effective than custom designs but even then it should be possible to change the basic things like the font, it’s size and colors.

Nowadays you can pretty much always choose between 2D or 3D maps. 3D maps are effective and showy on the screen, but it could be costly and time consuming if you want to change the location of the kiosk. The best wayfinding software should provide the option to use both.

3a

You should also check how accurate and detailed the maps are going to be. Although the best way to ensure accuracy is to provide correct data yourself.

Even if you want to use only information kiosks in the beginning, it never hurts to be prepared. If you choose the application that is also mobile friendly, it will save time and money in the future.

Indoor positioning and navigation

The indoor positioning and navigation ability is a must while using the wayfinder mobile app. Right now the iBeacon technology, that uses smartphone’s Bluetooth connection seems to be the most reliable one. Navigation system can also use WiFi networks but it is cost effective only in places like big malls, where every shop already has their own network.

nexus_5

When visitors are searching for something, targeted ads are most impactful. Customers can be attracted by giving out coupons, offering special deals, providing additional information. While nobody is using the information kiosk for wayfinding, the whole screen could be used to display ads.

And last but not least, the pricing. Make sure to find out beforehand what are you going to pay for. For example: will it cost more when you want to add another kiosk later?

There are some other questions you should ask:

Can you use the app online?

Is multiple language support provided?

Can the specific routes for disabled access be displayed?

Will the app collect user data for statistics?

To find the answers to these questions contact: info@3dwayfinder.com.

Have a nice summer,

3D Wayfinder Team

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