Using the Power of Google Maps for Campus and Facility Management
A university’s campus map is an important asset that serves a variety of visitors, alumni, students, staff, faculty, and administration. A campus map provides detailed information about locations across the campuses and often includes wayfinding capabilities.
New Jersey’s largest higher education institution, Rutgers University, has three main campuses and hundreds of other off-campus facilities. Rutgers has 900 buildings across 6,000 acres and owns property in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. Rutgers also has one of the largest transit systems of any school, with over 54,000 rides per day on 19 routes. It was critical that all of this information be easily and consistently accessible to interested users across all campuses and facilities.
Before AppGeo built out an online campus map for Rutgers using the Google Maps Platform, Rutgers had all of their campus geospatial data siloed in individual databases – a format that was hard for campus staff, students and visitors to access and interact with. In the original system, a user had to know the name of the building they were looking for, and once they searched for it, the results were a small static map image of the building and surrounding area. There were also static PDF maps for each campus, but these were inconsistent across the three campuses. They were frequently out of date and included only approximate, often inaccurate locations. Putting the entirety of the campus mapping information on a single platform with a unified experience was a major driver of the decision to migrate to a platform that utilized Google Maps Platform.
The application integrates with backend data systems, making it easy for Rutgers to keep everything up to date. Rutgers data, consumed from their ArcGIS Online account and Archibus facilities database, include data such as buildings information, public transportation, parking, biking, real estate and utilities. The Google Maps application serves data to the public and provides additional data and features for campus staff and facility managers.
The updated Rutgers Campus Map provides easy to use mapping with contextual information that allows a user to find key location information such as building-level details (departments and space assignments within the building), where to park, bus routes and stops, walking paths, and amenities (retail shops and food locations).
The Rutgers campus map uses the following components of Google Maps Platform and Google Cloud Platform:
- Google App Engine
- Google Datastore
- Google Cloud Storage
The application that AppGeo built for Rutgers, an interactive online Campus Map, includes the following functionality:
- Search for a specific address, building or facility, or parking lot
- Click a building and view detailed information about what is in that building
- Jump to popular destinations or any of the main campuses
- View Google maps directions, street view, satellite imagery
- Toggle other map themes (bike trails, parking, bus routes, walking paths, food, and retail shops)
- Secure login for authorized staff to view detailed utility and property information
- Works on desktop or mobile device
AppGeo also implemented many key components of Section 508 web accessibility standards such as: compliant color contrast ratios, the ability to navigate the site completely via keyboard, and ensure the application is screen-reader compliant.
AppGeo‘s Campus Map for Rutgers serves as a hub for organizing and delivering critical location information to meet such diverse needs as wayfinding, building access, public safety, planning, and facility management. This application is pulling data from various internal sources (Archibus Facility Management database, Transloc API for bus route information) and provides a single source for all location information across all Rutgers campuses.
Also, It has helped reinforce the brand and identity of the University by providing a unified, positive user experience and by presenting an interactive and iconic view of the campus setting and environment.