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The Benefits of Interactive Campus Maps

Jun 23, 2021

12 min read

By: Sofia Spagnuolo

On my first day of university, I woke up at 6:30 am to go to my 8:00 am class. I grabbed every textbook I would need for the day, packed my bag, and headed out the door. I memorized the route my tour guide had shown me earlier in the week, and I finally laid my eyes upon the building my first class would be in. I entered the building and saw the hustle and bustle of hundreds of students with headphones in, scrambling through the halls, determined to get to class on time.

I circled the building looking for room 354a, but the numbers just weren’t adding up. I even tried searching the building on Google to see if anyone had encountered the same problem or if there were directions online for this complicated layout. But Google gave me little to no information, so I kept wandering around, too afraid to ask for help, before finally finding my room. I was 10 minutes late for class. Unfortunately, I repeat this process every year.

Interactive campus maps are the solution to this problem and many more. Digital campus maps can help not only other students like me, but visitors, faculty, security, and more. Interactive campus makes navigating through campus easy and exciting. Keep reading to find out the benefits of implementing a digital map to your campus.

Benefits for Students

1. Reduce Stress

With midterm season, budgeting for groceries, and simply just trying to get by, students endure enough stress as it is. With indoor and outdoor navigation, stress can be minimized by saving time wandering around buildings. Be confident of your destination instead. Plan to leave the house at a precise time and directly map how long it will take to arrive at your destination, instead of wastefully setting aside time to find your building. Campus map software that implements wayfinding is seamless with a smart search system that can help even when you’re not exactly certain what you are looking for. For example, search “study rooms” and be provided with a list of buildings that accommodate study spaces. 

Beyond classes, wayfinding makes finding support centers easier, ensuring you get the help you need. Ever been stressed with courses and need a counsellor? Search “academic counselling” and make your way over to see a counsellor. Interactive campus map software can authorize appointment booking straight from the map. Utilize a responsive web app to pre-plan your route to class, and make navigating around campus a stress-free experience.  A responsive web app allows students to use multi-destination wayfinding. For example, if you’re heading to an early morning class and you start to crave a coffee, you can search and add a stop along the way while getting turn-by-turn directions to each destination. 

2. Accessible Wayfinding

Imagine breaking your leg and only being able to find a staircase to get to your class, not the most ideal situation. With accessible wayfinding, students can avoid this problem and be directed to a route using the nearest elevator leading to their desired destination. Turn on Accessibility Mode within your interactive campus map to be provided with a path that prioritizes elevators, ramps, and accessibility entrances over stairs and escalators. 

Diversity is celebrated on campus as many people have different backgrounds and speak different languages. Partner with interactive maps that allow students to set their language preferences and accommodate each individual by allowing students to toggle between different languages on their campus map, creating a preference that is most suitable for them. 

3. Safety & Security

Indoor maps can highlight emergency exits, fire extinguishers, and campus security featured around campus to make students feel safe in their environment. Help can be a simple click of a button away. Campuses can send emergency notifications to those located in the area of danger. For example, if there is a burst pipe in a building on campus, everyone in the building can be notified to exit immediately. When implementing blue dot technology into interactive campus maps, security detail can find you if there is an emergency as students can send their location coordinates to first responders. Students can set their location sharing preferences to be seen by friends and family to ensure their safety and bring comfort to worried parents at home.

Even in a less serious situation, if you find yourself lost you can send your location to a friend and get step-by-step directions to their location. The maps contain a specific URL for each location on campus, allowing students to send the building they are in to a friend and get the fastest directions there if they need help. 

Benefits for Campus Administrators

1. Up-to-Date Campus Maps

Campus layouts are constantly changing with new and improved renovations. Campus administrators have the ability to seamlessly make changes to campus maps in real-time using a map editor. Campus administrators can ensure that visitors have access to reliable up-to-date information when visiting the campus and can be accurately directed to amenities, classrooms, services, and more. For example, if a food vendor is added, campus admins can update this change on the map, or even pre-plan it in a draft mode and set their release time. Campus admins can also add in or edit location details of places on campus, like the hours of operation of the on-campus bookstore, making sure this information is always up-to-date and easy to find. 

2. Insights & Analytics 

Campus administrators can gain access to map insights and analytics of location data. These users can see missed searches, category selections, device usage, and see which locations are driving the most foot traffic to gain a better understanding of what users are looking for. For example, if many people are looking for a coffee shop near the science building, it could be beneficial to consider adding one to increase revenue. With interactive campus maps, admins can better understand user intent, time of visit, and location searches to strategically create changes on campus. 

3. Safety Procedures

Among many other considerations, campus administrators are facing the challenge of dealing with social distancing protocols. With interactive campus maps, you can communicate which areas are blocked off to anyone navigating their way through campus and edit these changes as COVID protocols change. Interactive campus maps can also allow admins to visualize the layout of areas around campus, such as a study space or coffee shop, to accommodate social distancing without the heavy lifting of moving desks or tables over and over again to make sure protocols are met. Interactive campus maps ensure that you can plan ahead by using a draft-mode when visualizing the new layout of your space and then confidently make physical changes that work. 

Benefits for Visitors

1. On-Campus Digital Directories

Upon first arrival, entering a campus can be intimidating, and asking others for directions can take time out of their busy day. Digital directories enable a full-screen mapping solution at physical kiosks around the venue. This solution caters to visitors who know what they’re looking for and those looking to discover what’s available through features like smart search and category listings. Digital directories make wayfinding simple and allow any visitor, from a guest speaker to a parent, to navigate their way around campus without stress. Visitors can visualize the campus layout on a digital directory before entering, minimizing some of this intimidation. Digital directories can be placed at key points of interest to make sure visitors are aware of their surroundings and can navigate through the campus easily. QR codes can be added to the directories so visitors can scan the code on their mobile device and take the map with them on their journey. 

2. On-Campus Services and Amenities

Visitors on campus may be in search of a particular service or amenity like the nearest washroom or building that a campus map can help them find. If a visitor is searching for a specific building such as the international office or admissions office, they can search it on their map and populate quick and easy directions to their desired destination. On the digital map, categories can be useful for visitors who do not know the specific location they desire. For example, if a visitor gets hungry throughout their trip to campus they may want to locate a restaurant. With a campus navigation app in place, users can search for food and be provided with a list of places that may be of interest. Within a campus map app, visitors can also access the website of the restaurant and view the menu upon arrival. Restaurants can even alert visitors of special deals, for example, “Half Price Wings on Wednesdays” could drive foot traffic of visitors to this location. 

Benefits for Security Detail

1. Effective Fire Drills 

Interactive campus maps can highlight emergency exit routes in a building, so fire drills can be practiced easily and effectively. A campus map can ensure no one gets lost during a fire drill and everyone is aware of their closest exit point. Visualize exit routes in a building and create fast and safe fire drills for students on campus. 

2. Emergency Navigation

Campus maps can allow security detail to find important facilities in the event of an emergency. For example, in the event of a fire, firefighters can find the closest fire hydrant available. Digital campus maps can highlight facilities for security detail to access like strong rooms, vaults, the campus security office, and campus police. Security detail can locate defibrillators and first aid kits around them to ensure they save time and provide the help that is needed immediately. With blue dot technology implemented in an interactive campus map, a person’s location coordinates can be sent to security to find them if they are in danger. Campus map software can save time and save lives when attempting to find a person in need. 

Benefits for Marketing and Event Teams

1. Pop-up Events

Marketers can create pop-up events and indicate them on the campus map to drive attention and traffic. Events happening on campus can be highlighted, making them known to students, faculty, and visitors. Marketers can add social media accounts and websites to the map to increase visibility to these platforms. Interactive campus maps can indicate additional information to students and staff, like start and end times, cancellations, itinerary details, and more. 

2. Proximity Marketing

Proximity marketing can be implemented on a digital campus map to alert someone if they are passing by an event or are near an ongoing promotion. For example, if a student is walking by a job fair they can receive a personalized notification about it, creating interest and driving foot traffic. Proximity marketing can help event teams get their event noticed and promoted. 

Benefits for Facility Teams

1. Get Alerts & Notifications

Customize points of interest on a digital campus app and set alerts for teams that need to update them. For example, facility teams can be alerted when a vending machine is running low and be notified to fill it when necessary. The cleanliness of these amenities can be indicated to others on campus through notifications as well. Make toilets, baby changing stations, ramps, drink fountains, elevators, charging stations and more, points of interest and update the time of their last clean to notify colleagues or others on campus. 

2. Optimized Routing

When receiving alerts and verbal cues of what needs to be done, it can be hard for facility teams to prioritize what needs the most immediate attention. With a campus map, facility teams can visualize the most optimal route and prioritize what needs to get done first. Optimize maintenance workflows and ensure efficiency with a campus map and get turn-by-turn directions to the next task. 

Benefits for Professors

1. Find a Prof

Along with the same search and wayfinding features available to students, some indoor navigation systems allow employees to share their on-site location information with fellow colleagues or students. Professors can utilize this optional tool to make themselves accessible beyond the average office hour. Colleagues can create spontaneous meetings based on who is nearby and find the closest meeting room available depending on a professor's location. 

2. Booking Meeting Spaces

Integrate a space reservation calendar to your interactive map so professors can book a meeting room right from the map. An interactive campus map can provide location information such as capacity limits, if it has appliances like a whiteboard or HDMI cables, and other helpful details. Increase efficiency by utilizing this information to book the right room and use its features appropriately.

With interactive campus maps, we can change the narrative: 

On my first day of university, I woke up at 7:30 am to get to my 8:00 am class because my campus map said it was a 10-minute walk to get my morning coffee and walk to class, and I needed 20 minutes to get ready. I walked through campus and entered my building. I was one of the hundreds of students with headphones in making my way to class. I followed the directions on my phone to go up the stairs and to the left to find room 354a. I sat down at a desk 5 minutes before class started, ready to learn.

College & university mapping, navigation, and positioning software can get rid of excess stress. Reduce time communicating directions and integrate with an interactive campus map, to benefit everyone. Contact us today to create your own campus map.