By Andrew Thompson Landerghini, University Marketing and Communications
“A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.”
-Gilbert H. Grosvenor, Editor of National Geographic (1903-1954)
Lofty words from the leader of one of the most revered publications in the last century, but who doesn’t love a good map. And the University of Utah online campus map is pretty epic.
Launched in January 2015, the map is a joint collaboration between Facilities Management’s GIS team and University Marketing & Communications using Esri’s ArcGIS software service. The platform is extremely flexible and allows for a creative use of cartography, icons and other graphical features. It also allows for the creation of multiple maps, beyond just the campus map, which the GIS team has created for other organizations across campus, such as the Sustainability Office and its Green Map.
“ESRI’s ArcGIS platform allows us to do more than just share data to users of the campus map,” said Christopher Strong, a GIS analyst for Facilities Management Business Services. “It’s a way to let stakeholders of that information – be it bike racks, construction zones, or coffee shops – maintain it. Letting these stakeholders manage the information that is important to them is vital in keeping the map current, and useful, for everyone.”
At the outset of the project, one of the most important aspects was to be mobile-device friendly both in form and function. This meant a less cluttered interface and a re-imagining of what functions were most integral for smartphone users. One feature to make navigating campus on the go easier was introduced just a few weeks ago. The sidewalk routing app will find the best walking path for desired locations while taking into account campus construction.
Beyond the surface, other features, such as food/coffee locations and public transit stops, can be found by clicking the tabs at the top (in desktop view) or tapping the menu icon (in mobile view).
Items of note:
- Accesible Entrances
- Powered doors
- Points of Interest
- UTA bus stops
- Bike parking and repair stations
There is a separate tab for parking with toggle layers for A, E, U and V lots, as well as for accessible parking. To find building information, such as its number, code and location link, simply click on the building and that information will appear in a pop-up window.
Another cool component of the new map is the ability to create and display custom tours. These interactive, multimedia pieces can be built through a myriad of templates provided by Esri and can be as varied and distinct as an overview of all the trees on campus, a historical glimpse of Presidents Circle or a general tour of the U.
So while the online map can fulfill the most basic of wayfinding needs, it’s also a resource for so much more. We’re always looking to make the campus map better, so please send us your suggestions via the feedback link.