Document Type


Publication Title



University of Toronto Press

Publication Date

Fall 2013

First Page


Last Page


Abstract/ Summary

Location sharing in indoor environments is limited by the sparse availability of indoor positioning and lack of geographical building data. Recently, several solutions have begun to implement digital maps for use in indoor space. The map design is often a variant of floor-plan maps. Whereas massive databases and GIS exist for outdoor use, the majority of indoor environments are not yet available in a consistent digital format. This dearth of indoor maps is problematic, as navigating multistorey buildings is known to create greater difficulty in maintaining spatial orientation and developing accurate cognitive maps. The development of standardized, more intuitive indoor maps can address this vexing problem. The authors therefore present an alternative solution to current indoor map design that explores the possibility of using colour to represent the vertical dimension on the map. Importantly, this solution is independent of existing geographical building data. The new design is hypothesized to do a better job than existing solutions of facilitating the integration of indoor spaces. Findings from a human experiment with 251 participants demonstrate that the vertical colour map is a valid alternative to the regular floor-plan map.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Nossum, A.S., Giudice, N.A., & Li, H. (2013). Vertical color maps: A data independent alternative to floor plan maps. Cartographica. 48(3), 225-236.

Publisher Statement

© University of Toronto Press