3D Map of Milan

3 Types of 3D Campus Maps and When To Use Each

3D Map of MilanMore and more, college applicants are forgoing the grueling campus tour in favor of browsing maps that can be found on the internet. Having the right map is essential when it comes to recruiting students, and the choice of map isn’t as simple as one might think. While there’s an argument to be made of 2D maps versus 3D maps, there are actually three different types of 3D maps and each has its own particular use. These 3D maps are comprised of 1) Vector maps, 2) Raster maps, and 3) Hand-Rendered maps, and knowing when to use each can be as important as the content of the maps themselves.

Vector maps are very popular, offering a 3D perspective that emulates basic maps, making it the perfect choice for maps that favor information above all else. Possessing a design that does not sacrifice simplicity for style, Vector maps are noted for their affordability and ease of development. Campus features such as trees and landscapes are presented while also offering plenty of room for text. This type of map is best used for informational purposes; it truly shines when adorned with plentyof labels for buildings and other textual comments.

Raster maps might be the best option for those desiring more detail. These maps, designed with computer-aided techniques via software such as Adobe Photoshop, offer rich color gradients and an artful complexity that allows the picture to express all it needs to say. While other maps feature generic designs for buildings, trees, and other campus fixtures, 3D perspective Raster maps offer a detailed view that mirrors reality. These maps are best used to capture a campus as a whole, as their realistic design allows readers to decipher it with only a glance. Notably, Raster maps are fully customizable for individuals familiar with the software to design them, making them the wisest choice for a campus in the middle of construction or with plans to expand in the near future.

Hand-Rendered maps comprise the third option, and they look exactly as one might expect. These maps, though made by the time-consuming process of drawing by a human hand, possess a unique charm reminiscent of the skillfully crafted maps of the past with a 3D spin that propels them into the present. While not as affordable or customizable as other 3D map types, the quality of Hand-Rendered maps makes them perfect for brochures or other projects that demand artistry over all else. Because of their hand-drawn nature, they are not easily editable, making them problematic for campuses expecting to expand. However, for the time-tested institution that wants a contemporary 3D map without losing the allure of their history, Hand-Rendered maps might be the ideal choice.

3D maps are a great way to garner prospective students. They all have certain similarities: depiction of length, width, and height, a photo-realistic perspective, and a 360-degree representation of a campus. However, each style has its own use and knowing when to use each – Vector, Raster, and Hand-Rendered – can enhance, or compromise, their potential.

Image Credit: 3D Map of central Milan by Phil Gyford

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One comment

  • petter June 30, 2011  

    Really good post!THX!