Campus Map App
Spanning 250 acres, NUI Galway’s extensive campus can often present navigation challenges for new and visiting students and staff, particularly when construction projects are underway. This EXPLORE project aims to develop a mobile and a web application for showing students and staff around the NUI Galway campus. The user will enter their position (e.g. CT102) and destination (e.g. Cairnes Theatre) and the application will calculate the most efficient path. It is anticipated that along the path users can tap on the map and a picture of the closest landmark/room number will be shown to help them find their way. Ultimately, students can enter their timetable and it will automatically direct them from lecture to lecture. Information about current and upcoming events will also ultimately be available on the map.
Accomplishments to date:
• Met with the Campus Tree Map EXPLORE Group and agreed to entertain the possibility of collaborating by creating a single Map with multiple uses.
• Decided on technology and media to be used: An online web app based on Google Maps API as it should be the easiest to code and works on multiple platforms.
• Met with Peter Corrigan from the Library on using the Library as our pilot building to be mapped. We have the full support of the Library and they are looking forward to combining our map with their online services.
• For now the Wi-fi triangulation plan will be stalled as it is beyond our capabilities and by choosing a Web App as our media has become almost impossible to implement.
• Have spread interest in our peer group and colleagues from the School of Engineering and are gaining valuable feedback on how to implement our concept.
• Arrange more meetings with the other EXPLORE Group (CampusTree Map) working to create a map app and collaborate with them to reach our common goal of creating an online map application. Aim to pool funding to arrange either a professional to code the application or a tutor to teach us how we can do it ourselves.
• Get in contact with Google for guidance and advice as the most likely plan of action at the moment is to integrate our map application as either a Google Maps Application or an update to the Google Map of Galway.
• Gain access to the floor plans of all buildings on campus from the Buildings office, and edit them to a common standard and high resolution.
To date the Campus Map Project has been very staggered as we had agreed in our last report to leave off most of the work until after exams. This was partially due to exam stress and project deadlines amongst all of the students in our group, but also due to our uncertainty in choosing a suitable technology.
Google has recently released the ability to include floor plans in their google maps application for Android. This would allow us to integrate our idea of a campus map in the wide-spread and popular Google Maps application and simplify the process of mapping the campus. So we have been waiting to see further developments in this area before starting on work would have been for naught. Recently Google has even released an App which allows users to walk through uploaded floor-plans of buildings and automatically collects GPS, Wi-fi and mobile phone network data to triangulate your position.
Due to these recent revelations our plans from now until the end of the project are:
Get access to floor-plans and blueprints of as many buildings on campus as possible from the buildings office, and most importantly permission to distribute them freely on Google Maps.
Upload the floor-plans to Google Maps.
Mark in locations(rooms, lecture theatres, offices etc.)
Use the Android application to collect triangulation data and make locating within buildings more accurate.
For those interested here are some articles on the technology we are planning on using:
Google Indoor Maps
The Campus Map group has joined with the Tree Map and GUSTO projects as well as the college's ISS.
Together we are working on a unified map system which will help students find their way around the campus, utilize the many transport options and learn more about the diverse ecology.
The ISS wish to remake the current interactive campus map available on the college website. It is out of date and uses very outdated legacy software. The only option is to remake the map from scratch. Along with this there is the plan to make a mobile application for the college, so the map will hopefully be a prototype mobile application.
Mobile development can be costly due to there being a variety of popular platforms which all require individual apps written in different programming languages. Therefore the plan for the map app is a web based application. A dynamic website which displays differently whether it is viewed on a PC, tablet or smartphone. Then a service such as PhoneGap could be used to create a simple app which acts like a web browser built specifically for the map website allowing it to interact with the devices' hardware such as location services (GPS, A-GPS, Network triangulation etc.). This provides us with a marketable app which gives it a presence in the various mobile marketplaces and stores. It makes the app faster and more conveniently, as well as allowing it to be used offline using cached (locally stored) map data.
Currently we are all working on our separate maps. The online map will allow options for users to view separate layers including buildings, theatres, classrooms, roads, cycling paths, footpaths, trees etc...
While we are now at the end of the Explore project's timeline, we will continue working over the holidays on our project. We are expecting the finished map to be ready for all students and staff to use by the start of the new term in September.