Monday, October 4, 2010

Updating the Campus Map

The current map -- see pdf version for more detail
or see the Google Maps version currently in use.
The transition to university status has given Bridgewater State a number of opportunities, large and small. Of particular interest to geographers is the opportunity to update the campus maps, both in print and on way-finding kiosks. University status coincides with several other changes that have implications for the design and development of these maps. The change comes amid an unprecedented series of major building projects and during a period of particular interest in university/town connections. (See the current print and web-based maps.)

On September 29, students in the department's senior seminar course met with several university officials for a discussion of mapping for these exciting times and complex conditions. Bridgewater's campus has evolved in a piece-meal fashion over the past 165 years in the center of 300-year-old town, and it has a railroad running through it. In a brief meeting, students learned a lot about the need to balance these challenges and the needs of various map consumers. 

Meanwhile, they applied their geographic insights to the current draft maps, and offered numerous suggestions for improvements based on cartographic conventions and their growing spatial instincts. A large printout of the map will be available in the hallway outside the geography department offices for the next two weeks, for further suggestions to be made (in pencil, please!). Suggestions can also be shared with Dr. Hellstrom or Dr. Hayes-Bohanan, who will convey them to the university officials responsible for the project.

In addition to fine-tuning the current map, we began discussions of other ways in which the department can contribute to mapping and way-finding. These include materials for future kiosks and visitors' centers on or near campus and, eventually, to employing GIS for state-of-the-art online versions of campus and downtown maps.

The Fall 2010 mapping discussion builds directly on the final report of students who completed the same course with Dr. Clark in 2007. The legacy of those students will live on in new and future maps.
Building on the earlier work Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's 2010 seminar students met with university officials to share their expert insights on the campus map, which is being redesigned in connection with the institution's name change.

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