We got some good comments and questions on the last post about the campus mapping project. (Thank you!) Here are some answers.
- do we have better satellite imagery?
- do the GIS folks at Mann Library have actual imagery that could be layered with this data?
- Also, I think 2D is one dimension short, how about one more for the road?
The answers to numbers one and two are a very hearty “I don’t know.” These questions came up in the 12/12 Forum meetting in the context of using Google Maps satellite images in conjunction with our data and the answer was that there is not sufficient imagery to cover our area in detail.
Indeed, I just went to Google Maps and looked for “Cornell University Ithaca” and there appears to be NO imagery at all.
Live Search Maps has decent imagery of campus, but not great imagery.
Frank agreed that it would be great to have satellite shots integrated with the map, but we really do seem to be lacking the quality of image that would make it worthwhile.
The answer to number three is…um…huh? Could you be a little more specific about what you want to see in 3D? Virtual renderings? Something similar to what you can do with spaces in Second Life? Panoramas? Movies? (Both of those last two are not only possible, but already in place in rough format.)
I don’t see any mention of searching by building name, but I presume this will be a feature. It would be very nice to search by department or office name, too. For example, I look in the campus directory and find the office I need to visit is at Ste 400 Seneca Place On The Commons. Can I look that up? (I realize it’s off campus, but lots of places are, and more will be.
Yes, searching by building name is an option. My bad for not mentioning it. It’s actually how I made the graphics from the previous post, as I find the zoom feature a little clunky at the moment. You can also search by building code (that’s what those four-digit numbers are next to the names on the screen shots are) if you know what they happen to be. Frank was rattling them off the top of his head at the meeting. Meanwhile, I have been at Cornell since Moses was a pup and had no clue that we even HAD numerical designations for each building.
I don’t imagine that searching by department is out of the realm of possibility. Even if that data is not in Frank’s massive database right now, I think it could probably be added without too much fuss.
As for whether or not a given location is “off campus” or not…well…let’s just say that Frank indicated that he considers all of Tompkins County “campus” and leave it at that. So, sure. In theory, it could find the Alumni Offices downtown for you.
And Michael suggested:
Please make the software PDA and Smart Phone compatible.
Could it display bus routes? We currently are always printing out maps to give people directions so a nice print friendly view is essential especially if we could put directions, like a digital highlighter.
In theory, it can. And when I say “theory”, I mean that all that is necessary to make this happen is for the bus route data to be added.
I love the concept of a digital highlighter. So much so, in fact, that it was on my own wish-list for this project. That would be a real service to campus visitors.
In addition, if we are totally replacing the printed version we will need a way to print high quality ones for brochures.
I am told that the Office of Publications and Marketing (who are responsible for the printed maps we all know and love) are busily working with printers to make it possible to get high-quality versions of the new map. Something to do with color separations. Once this is all sorted out, the printed maps will be generated from the new source in a similar manner to how they are now. If you need a high-quality map for a brochure, you would go to OPM–the same as you (presumably) do now.
As a reminder, the print function from the web version of these maps is still somewhat lacking in that users will have to navigate through their browser to show the portion they wish to print and then use the browser’s print functionality to make it happen. This is something that Frank and his crew are working on.
What about construction is it going to be able to change to show campus construction barriers? Or road closings and detours so when we give directions they are accurate for those of us who don’t travel to other parts of campus.
This also came up during the 12/12 Forum meeting and the answer is the same as many of the above…that is, it’s totally do-able, man. It’s just a matter of getting that data into the database.
One of the challenges we’re going to face with this project is scope. As you can see from my answers above, just about anything is possible with the right application of data and dollars. In terms of what’s on the map that gets hosted on cornell.edu, we’ll have to gather all the requirements and wish-lists and compost them down into a manageable pile.
The good news is that we don’t have to be the exclusive host for this map. It’s perfectly reasonable for the Hotel School to have it’s own version that has features suited to their needs. And Transportation can have a version with the bus routes. And someone else can have a version that shows the location of every single plaque, dedicated bench, and memorial tree on campus. (You laugh, but I know people who would love that.)
I’m still holding out for tracking the parking folks.
Happy Holidays, everyone. See you in 2008!