WIT Press

A Methodology For Evacuation Route Planning Inside Buildings Using Geospatial Technology


Free (open access)

Paper DOI






Page Range

155 - 166




464 kb


A. Ram´on, A. B. Rodr´ıguez-Hidalgo, J. T. Navarro-Carri´on & B. Zaragoz´ı


Evacuation route planning is a fundamental task for building engineering projects. Safety regulations are established so that all occupants are driven on time out of a building to a secure place when faced with an emergency situation. As an example, Spanish building code requires the planning of evacuation routes on large and, usually, public buildings. Engineers often plan these routes on single building projects, repeatedly assigning clusters of rooms to each emergency exit in a trial-and-error process. But problems may arise for a building complex where distribution and use changes make visual analysis cumbersome and sometimes unfeasible. This problem could be solved by using well-known spatial analysis techniques, implemented as a specialized software able to partially emulate engineer reasoning. In this paper we propose and test an easily reproducible methodology that makes use of free and open source software components for solving a case study. We ran a complete test on a building floor at the University of Alicante (Spain). This institution offers a web service (WFS) that allows retrieval of 2D geometries from any building within its campus.We demonstrate how geospatial technologies and computational geometry algorithms can be used for automating the creation and optimization of evacuation routes. In our case study, the engineers’ task is to verify that the load capacity of each emergency exit does not exceed the standards specified by Spain’s current regulations. Using Dijkstra’s algorithm, we obtain the shortest paths from every room to the most appropriate emergency exit. Once these paths are calculated, engineers can run simulations and validate, based on path statistics, different cluster configurations. Techniques and tools applied in this research


emergency evacuation, route planning, building engineering, geospatial Technology