Graphical Layers on Interactive Campus Maps
Interactive maps can graphically color or mark related buildings and campus locations. Graphical layers make it much easier for prospective students, current students and other campus visitors to quickly identify buildings and locations that share similar uses or traits.
Imagine yourself once again as a sixteen year old prospective student, but living in today’s world with YouTube, NetFlix and always-on Internet media. Now imagine your parents haranguing you to research colleges and consider the next four years of your life; you visit college .edu sites and look at photos, videos and eventually you make your way to the campus map, because after all, you’re going to spend four years in one of these places right?
While visiting interactive maps is initially somewhat exciting, you quickly tire of wandering aimlessly around each map clicking on each and every interactive hot-spot. For this reason, colleges have begun adding graphical layers to their maps that allow students to quickly group related locations, highlight important location rules/regulations (parking, handicapped access, emergency blue light phones etc.), and even provide additional detail on existing map locations for special events or audiences. Highlighting dormitories and campus dining locations gives prospective students a snapshot of their potential life on campus, and layers can be tied to videos and other tour content.
A popular layer for many CampusTours clients is the History Layer. Many of our clients attempt to balance the needs and interests of their primary audience (prospective students/parents) with other important “core” institutional audiences (current students, faculty, staff, alumni, prospective employees, visitors and the general public). Thus, many institutions refrain from including copious amounts of historical information in their interactive maps for fear that this will bore prospective students. The CampusTours History Layer provides institutions a dedicated series of panels to describe the history of buildings and campus locations, and these can be accessed separately from the building, so prospective students are not required to download and digest this content. Furthermore, if alumni records indicate where they lived during their years at the college, direct links can be provided into the histories of former dormitories in emails to your donors!
CampusTours works closely with our interactive map clients to determine which custom graphical layers would be most useful on each campus. Many colleges create their own custom layers, and CampusTours has created some interesting layers through the years highlighting everything from buildings with wireless Internet hotspots, to sustainability initiatives on campus, and even locations where ghosts have appeared on campus!
Some institutions have begun to use layers for special events, commencements and reunions. CampusTours maps also offer the ability to created hidden layers, panels and videos for specific audiences, special events, fundraising (building/capital campaigns etc). These presentations can be accessed via direct URL link, and are not available to the general public viewing the tours.
Graphical layers can highlight existing buildings, place icons or markers on the map or even draw custom paths or nature trails. Custom graphical layers are administered through the CampusTours content management system, and can be created and published quickly for special events. Contact CampusTours for more custom layer examples.