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Information and insight from the A&M Webmasters

Emergency Site – Now Includes Maps

December 11th, 2012 by Erick Beck

During an emergency situation, we are often so busy following our procedures for getting content posted that we miss some important features.  A case of not seeing the forest for the trees.  Sometimes it takes being away from the action to look at the site differently — as a user instead of as an administrator — and see what is obviously lacking.  In the case of the emergency site, this sort of insight revealed one weakness — there is no sense of location on the page to show where the emergency is taking place.

Even those of us who have been here for many years can’t necessarily remember where every building is located on campus.  We have therefore integrated a mapping system into the emergency site, allowing us to easily post a map of the affected building and area of campus.

Keeping in mind the nature of the site and our desire to keep download time minimized, we decided to go with an automated embed from Google Maps rather than taking a screen shot and embedding a static image.  This also makes administering the site easier because the user doesn’t have to open screen-shot software, edit the image, and upload it to a server.  Geolocation information is used instead.  Emergency staff can locate the part of campus that they want to highlight on Aggie Maps.  Right mouse-clicking will then pull up the longitude and latitude coordinates.  This information can then simply be copied into an input box that has been created with Cascade.  From there the system writes out the code into the page to embed the map.  The map is also clickable so that users can get a broader range of area and zoom in and out as desired.

Not every event, of course, will need to display location information.  When such information is available, though, it is now a simple glance away, along with the rest of the event information, on the emergency web site.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 Emergency
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