Categories and category groups

Available for an ArcGIS organization licensed with the Indoors extension.

ArcGIS Indoors allows you to configure points and areas of interest that you want to interact with as routable locations on the map. Points of interest, such as occupants, specific locations, events, and objects, are displayed as discrete points on a map and symbolized with an icon. Areas of interest, such as a unit, level, or facility, are displayed on the map using polygon symbology. Points of interest can be sourced from point layers, and areas of interest can be sourced from polygon layers. You can configure these places to support explore and search capabilities in the Indoor Viewer and Indoors mobile apps. You can also use them as input to generate the network to support routing. Points and areas of interest can be divided into logical categories and category groups to facilitate the explore experience in Indoor Viewer and Indoors mobile apps.

ArcGIS Indoors includes map templates that are preconfigured with category groups and several dozen categories that refine these groups. These categories are configured to appear as icons in the Explore panel of Viewer and Indoors mobile apps. The apps allow you to search and locate points and areas of interest such as facilities, occupants, and events on the Indoors map. The categories can be configured according to the places that are important to your organization. You can assign different symbols to represent each category defined by unique query expression.

Category groups

A category group is a broad collection of similar categories that are useful to your organization. An example of a category group is Places + Things, for places and things that you want to explore on the map with a catalog of similar categories, such as conference rooms, offices, and restrooms. The following most common category groups are preconfigured by default in the Indoors map template:

  • Safety + Security—Indicates where equipment, first aid, exits, and other emergency or safety-related resources are located.
  • Retail + Services—Indicates where on the map you can purchase goods or services or make other financial transactions. Examples include gas stations, stores, restaurants, or ATMs.
  • Places + Things—Unit centroids, indoor addresses, units, or facilities for noncommercial indoor or outdoor locations. These can be ATMs, auditoriums, restrooms, elevators, or other unit use types. This category group can also include fountains, art pieces, or other landmarks that people may want to find.

    Places can be configured from point layers as points of interest, symbolized with an icon on the map, or from polygon layers as areas of interest, symbolized using polygon symbology. Unit centroids are used when routing to or from an area of interest.

When defining category groups, limit the categories in a group to categories using the same map layer as a source. While Indoors supports groups that contain categories from multiple map layers, the Indoors apps perform best when all categories in a group share the same source layer.


A category is a collection of similar points or areas of interest that contain more details within a category group. For example, the Places + Things category group can contain an office category that includes a list of office spaces across different facilities in your organization.

Categories can be attached to a category group to create a hierarchy of similar points or areas of interest bundled together for a better exploring experience in Viewer and Indoors mobile apps. These categories can also exist outside of a group as stand-alone categories when they don't fit in a logical group. These stand-alone categories appear on the root level of the Explore panel along with category groups.

When defining categories, use simple expressions to define which features from the source layer to include. While Indoors supports complex queries, the app performs best with simple ones. The following are examples of simple expressions:

You should use the same fields to define the categories in a category group. For example, if defining categories for the Places + Things category group, all the categories in that group would refer to the same field, such as USE_TYPE in their expression.


Occupant and event points do not have any further classification and are maintained as stand-alone categories in the category configuration.

Category display order

The order in which the category groups or categories appear in the Explore panel of Indoors apps is dictated by the display sequence set in the Explore and Categories views of the Configure Indoors Categories pane in ArcGIS Pro.

The Explore view in the Configure Indoors Categories pane is useful when validating your category and group configurations. The display and order of categories and groups in this view are reflected in Viewer and Indoors mobile apps when you share your Indoors maps.

The listing order for places contained in a category in the Explore panel of Viewer and Indoors mobile apps varies across platforms. This listing sequence in the Indoors apps is not defined in the category configuration and is managed at the app level.

Viewer lists points and areas of interest in alphabetical order by default if the home location is not set. When it is set in My Places, the web app sorts the list of places based on proximity to the saved home location. The app also displays the travel time for the closest 10 places to the home location in the display list.

The Indoors mobile apps can determine the geographic location of the user's device through an indoor positioning system (IPS), which provides the ability to track the current device position and calculate the distance between the device and points or areas of interest to enable routing. In the mobile apps, these places are listed from nearest to the farthest from the device location when IPS is available. When IPS is unavailable, the app relies on the center of the map extent to sort the list. This provides a better navigation experience while searching the closest facility.