Innovations in Campus Mapping

A post on the ever interesting Google Maps Mania blog alerted me to a new interactive campus map produced by the Marketing folk at Loughborough University built on top of Google maps (I wonder if this is partly driven by Loughborough’s seemingly close ties with the Google education folk? If so, I wonder if they’re doing anything interesting relating to search in education too?)

Loughborough campus map

The layers are reminiscent of the layers in the Southampton campus map (e.g. Open Data Powered Location Based Services in UK Higher Education).

A simpler approach is taken by Liverpool University, who have bookmarked a few markers onto a map:

Liverpool campus map

Bristol University’s map appears to fall somewhere between the two in terms of complexity:

Bristol U campu map

Have any other UK HEIs rolled out interactive maps built on top of a third party API such as Google’s or maybe OpenStreetmap?

I know that Lincoln and Southampton are also currently battling it out in the “who can do the best 3D models of university buildings in Google Earth” (e.g. Lincoln’s KML file – h/t @alexbilbie;-). Any other UK HEIs with 2.5/3D building model layers? [h/t re: 2.5D to @gothwin] (Why’s this useful? Because if you can identify buildings placed as 3D models in Google Earth, you also have the lat/long data for those building profiles;-) Of course, just having building markers on a Google Map would also give you that geo-location data.

Lincoln U 3d layers/kml in google earth

I wonder whether any universities have Google Streetmap (or equivalent) style navigation? Where campuses are town centre based, and built on public roads, I guess they may be? I also wonder how many universities have started marking up locations as Google Places, or places on other location based services (I notice the Lincoln KML layer links through to a venue/place definition on Foursquare). This sort of detail would then support services based around checkins. For a homebrew example of what this might look like, see the OU’s check-in app: wayOU – mobile location tracking app using linked data.

A crude alternative, for promo purposes at least, is the campus tour, of course. Here’s one from several years ago looking at the OU’s Walton Hall campus:

Any others out there? Or any other map/location based initiatives being carried out by UK HEIs, whether similar to the above mentioned ones, or maybe even something completely different?!;-)

UPDATE: I’m guessing interactive maps are tending towards the norm by now, but as an when I come across them, I;ll try to add links here:
Uni of York interactive campus map (Google map; bootstrapped from an SU app? Makes me think of Student as Producer and the LNCD initiative…;-)

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

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