We tend to think of campus maps as marketing and recruitment tools, used largely to show off a beautiful campus. However, they can be so much more for facilities departments.

Exactly what does that look like?

In a recent webinar, Concept3D’s higher education specialist Brett Tesmer explained all the ways in which facilities departments can leverage interactive campus maps to their advantage. From campus safety to construction, parking, and interior wayfinding, these interactive campus maps can do so much.

How interactive maps can streamline parking and transportation routes

Navigating a university campus can be daunting. Finding the right buildings at the right time, along with where to park, is crucial to avoid traffic issues, overloaded parking lots, and other potential issues.

These examples show how a variety of universities have used their interactive maps to streamline parking and transportation routes:

Penn State University added a customizable parking information category to its immersive campus map. Different user types, from visitors to students and even delivery personnel, can easily find the parking lots, rates, links to the parking policy, and the permit request process. Another way the school customizes their parking is through overnight parking during snow removal.

Rice University built a live transit feed into its interactive university map that has become invaluable for students, faculty, staff, and students. The map shows icons for shuttles that move in real-time as the bus moves. Each bus stop is clearly labeled and includes the next departure date. Other selectable labels include bike racks and routes, campus entry points, and charging stations for electric vehicles. The university’s map even extends beyond campus to show transportation to local spots.

How interactive maps can communicate campus safety

Campus safety is among the most common concerns students and parents have about universities. A safety strategy goes far beyond the interactive map. However, when done right, it can help communicate important emergency information. Consider these examples of schools who have leveraged their digital campus maps to communicate campus safety:

  • Butler University added safety categories to its campus map. With a simple selection, students can find the locations of anything from Automated External Defibrillators to Code Blue Phones, Evacuation Rally Points, Shelter in Place locations, and the university’s police departments. Any map user can access related information, or get walking directions to any of these points.
  • Pacific Lutheran University added a custom night map overlay that shows the most well-lit paths on campus once the sun sets. Imagine going to class or an event late at night, and knowing exactly where the most well-lit walkways will be to help you feel safe.
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland added a tunnel map overlay designed to show its underground system of tunnels that students, faculty, and staff can use in cases of extreme snow and other weather. In addition to keeping students safe during wintery conditions, this overlay also highlights a unique aspect of campus before visitors ever step foot on it.

How interactive maps can show construction and future campus planning

Planning around university construction can be complicated. Facilities departments are responsible for marking construction zones, determining and communicating detours, and more. Communication about campus planning becomes as much about present-day logistics as it does about future excitement. Without careful communication, construction can cause as much confusion and frustration as excitement. This is how some of our clients have solved it:

  • Kansas State University created a future campus map layer, adding buildings currently in planning and construction to its campus overview. The layer helps students and donors alike imagine what the campus will look like when they attend or as a result of their donations. As an added bonus, the “future buildings” can easily integrate into the real-time campus map once construction is complete.
  • Colorado State University added a construction category to its map. This shows the current construction work and provides links about its timeline. The category also includes detour routes and dates the detour is in effect, with every item shareable in communications channels from email to social media through a unique URL.
  • Indiana University at Bloomington included a live ESRI Arc/GIS feed on its interactive map that updates every evening. Through its interactive campus map, the facilities department was able to showcase important GIS data in a more visually-pleasing way, ensuring accurate information through a single source of truth.

How interactive maps can enhance interior wayfinding

Let’s face it—almost all campuses have at least one building that is difficult, if not impossible, to navigate for anyone that doesn’t have a Ph.D. in its floor plan. New students and staff members can feel lost trying to move around a new campus, and need a solution that is both desktop- and mobile-friendly.

Then it’s a good thing interior wayfinding exists. This feature can go a long way towards reducing confusion and helping facilities departments make campus easier to navigate. Current examples include the following:

  • The Colorado Convention Center added 3D interior floor plans to its interactive map. Users can select every level, from street to upper and lower level, with in-depth graphics showing details of escalators, presentation rooms, and more. A click on an individual room brings up panoramic renderings, as well as details that aid in event planning. An internal filter can also help event organizers browse through different types of interior spaces depending on their needs.
  • Oklahoma City Community College added interior layouts of significant buildings to its larger campus map. On said map, the user can utilize wayfinding pins to get walking directions to any room or building at its exact location on campus. These interior wayfinding capabilities also include an estimated walk time and distance. The search function also allows users to search for specific rooms if they do not know the exact location.

Next steps

Campus maps can be more than just shiny marketing tools. Today’s higher education interactive campus maps can be beneficial for facilities in their need to increase functionality and maximize their school’s efficiency. Check out the on-demand webinar, “Interactive Maps as a Tool for Facilities” to learn more about how your facilities department can leverage this campus map solution in every facet of the university.

Looking to learn more about Concept3D and how our tools have helped facilities departments like yours? Learn more about our Interactive Campus Maps product, or contact us to start the conversation.