FIND A SPOT: USING HEAT MAP TO REPRESENT INDOOR SPACE AVAILABILITY
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People find it challenging to locate unoccupied spots during peak hours in public places such as shopping mall food courts, libraries and airports. Users spend extra energy and time trying to locate these unoccupied spots. As well, smartphone technology can now use indoor localization techniques using Wi-Fi signals. This research focuses on solving the problem of finding unoccupied spots with a novel technique which involves no additional hardware except the users’ smartphone device. In order to achieve this, an android application has been designed which uses the Wi-Fi signal strength to locate the mobile devices indoors. These located coordinates are then plotted onto a floor map which helps the user to find unoccupied spots. The color of the plotted points represent the density of the people present in that particular location, analogous to a heat map. A user study involving 24 participants was conducted at the Halifax Central Library to evaluate how the application was used to help participants locate unoccupied spot/s (seats). The findings show that the participants found it easy and useful to locate the unoccupied seats using the application. They also provided recommendations for improving the application.