Why Mobile is the Future of Interactive Maps

Each fall thousands of freshmen arrive on a new college campus.  These students are often lost, confused, and turned around when they are trying to locate their dorms and classrooms.  From an administrative standpoint, you can have a senior escort them around the campus for an hour or so, but beyond that how can you ensure that these students find their way around?  How convenient would it be for them to have an interactive campus map handy wherever they go?

How Would Such a Map Operate?

The rising popularity of electronic tablets and smart-phones is an administrator’s best friend.  They give a university the opportunity to create an application that allows their new students to keep a close eye on where they are and where they are going.  This application would take the form of an interactive campus map.

With the global positioning system chips located in each phone and tablet keeping track of exactly where an individual is located is simple.  No matter where the student is located, the GPS located in their tablet or phone can provide the interactive campus map with their precise location on campus.  Once their current position is established, students could open a search interface that would allow them to type in a classroom number or a building on campus and receive turn by turn directions to that building.  As the student moves along the route, an icon depicting their current position could be seen traveling the line until they reach their destination.

Would Such An Application Receive Use?

Traditional maps have fallen by the wayside in mainstream travel.  Most drivers will take turn by turn directions from website map services or plug their destination addresses into their dashboard GPS finder and their vehicle will tell them how to reach their intended location.  An interactive campus map would serve the same purpose for students and visitors, but on a smaller scale.

Some college campus’ are larger than others and more spread out.  The University of Michigan has its campus buildings and dormitories spread over the entire city of Ann Arbor.  If all of the incoming freshman had access to an interactive campus map it would be simple to navigate from their dorm room to their physics lab across town.

Are There Benefits For The University?

With many games and apps for tablets costing several dollars it would be possible for the university to charge $1 for the interactive campus map and still generate significant income over a period of several years.

Current trends are clear: we continue to move farther and farther into the digital age.  Traditional maps and tours are falling by the wayside in favor if electronic solutions.  Those universities that succeed in recruiting may be the ones that can offer the highest quality digital solutions for their new students.  An interactive campus map will allow students to easily find their way from where they are on campus to where they need to be, all for a minimal cost to the university.

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