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Campus Maps, SOA, and Collaboration Oh My!

June 2nd, 2008 by tamuwebmaster

Almost 2 years ago, the Division of Marketing & Communications (DMC) took on the task of replacing the outdated static image maps of campus with a more dynamic map. The end result is at – it uses the Google Maps API, ASP.NET, web services, and a customized database backend maintained by DMC. It was also one of a handful of maps in the .edu arena to use a dynamic map technology at the time it was developed.

We are now revisiting this application and really want to make it a leading example in higher education of what can be done with new web technology and campus wide collaboration. Therefore, before we start ripping into the new application, we would like to get some feedback from the community about what this application means for this university.

We would like to hear from anyone and everyone about what features they want to see on the map, what features they don’t like on the current map, and what information should be added. One of the big goals of this new version is to have very up to date information maintained by the information owners. This means collaborating with as many groups on campus as possible to bring data to the forefront of the application, but leave the control of that data in the hands of its’ rightful owners.

We would also like to find good examples of this technology being used in other websites. If you know of a map on the web that you really like a particular feature of, please email us the URL and give us a brief description of the feature and why you like it.

We would also like to give back to the community as well! Therefore, the map will be driven by an open collection of web services. In the era of service oriented architecture, it makes sense to build a block, and allow others to build on top of that. Once the application is complete, the API for the web service will be documented and others around campus can start building mini-applications of their own based on the data aggregated in this system.

Some ideas to consider:

  1. CAS enabled map site for more personalized experience – student class scheduled mapped out, faculty teaching locations, etc.
  2. Printable, customized maps using a new overlay.
  3. Game day parking and event information.
  4. Live feeds from specific locations around campus to keep the information relevant.
  5. Data feeds from anyone on campus that thinks geo-locating their information and services would be helpful.
  6. Map web services that allow users to build custom maps on their sites that use our data – example: pull custom building location and parking information from our services into a map for a public event.
  7. A google Earth view that can show 3d buildings.
  8. Polygon shapes for building overlays instead of single point references.
  9. “Collection” maps that highlight several related items on campus with a single click.

To conclude, if you are interested in showing data on the map particular to your purpose on campus, please email us and we can set up a meeting to start the collaborative effort. If you are interested in using the map, please share with us how and why so we can tailor that to the broadest audience as possible. We will also be contacting groups on campus whom we would like to start the collaborative conversation with as well.

Monday, June 2nd, 2008 Campus Maps
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5 Comments to Campus Maps, SOA, and Collaboration Oh My!

  1. I did a quick Google search for “GIS Graduate Programs in Texas” just to see if maybe a school that has this type of program might have used some student / research resources to develop a nice campus map. I found this one, which is kind of cool:

    Although it’s a static map, I really like the way you can toggle on and off the landmarks you want to see. This is a neat feature.

  2. Debi on June 2nd, 2008
  3. here’s another cool one, again it’s static, but the hover features are sharp.

  4. Debi on June 2nd, 2008
  5. last one, i promise! Texas State University’s map is large-scale, like ours, and has zoom features that are really cool.

  6. Debi on June 2nd, 2008
  7. Debi on June 2nd, 2008
  8. I think Google Maps Street View would be a useful feature on this map. Maybe we could invite Google to do a street view or “campus view” of the entire campus, this would be a cool feature. TAMU has a Google Appliance now so we should have a contact at the company.

  9. Derek on June 3rd, 2008

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