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Making their mark online: students integral to online campus-mapping project

February 22, 2012


Visitors to Beloit now have it a little easier when planning their time in the city and on campus, thanks to the work of Troy Nelson’13, Nick Mischler’14, and Rachel McCartney’12. (Pictured above, left to right.)

The three worked with the college’s Web Services Department—comprised of Web and New Media Director Melissa Dix and Web Designer and Developer Amanda Frisbee—to create a new map, which will be helpful to visitors of the college and city alike.

Mischler, a sophomore, started on the project last year and created several running and bike path maps, and a “dining and diversions” map using Google Maps.

“Originally [the project] started with marking the campus buildings on Google Maps, then making various other maps such as parking, accessibility, walking/running/biking paths, student origins, etc.,” says Mischler. Eventually, the scope of the project expanded, and this year the team decided to create a searchable, online map of campus to interface with a page on the college’s website.

“I personally started with the image overlay which needed to be made more or less from scratch,” Mischler explains. Last semester, he finished one draft of the overlay, but had to start over this fall when Google Maps, the basis for the overlay, updated its aerial imagery. “Luckily, the second time around is always easier and, combining my efforts with Troy and Rachel who created the coding for the page's functionality, we were finally able to complete a useable instance of the map at the start of the spring '12 semester,” Mischler says. “The current map includes the ability to sort buildings and points of interest alphabetically and by type, as well as to display building information, parking locations, and accessibility access and hazards.”

Dix says that each of the students lent some key aspect to the final product. McCartney added the feature of the collapsible menus, and Nelson created special files to overlay the street map and make it work.

Though this phase of the project is complete, the team isn’t finished with the idea of creating functional online maps for Beloit visitors.

“From here, we're focusing on making the map more accessible for mobile users,” Mischler says. “For instance, a new or visiting prospective student would have a resource for navigating campus as well as access to information on its buildings in their hand. I feel this will be a mark—hopefully one of many—I'll leave at Beloit.”

Make sure to check out these maps the next time you want to explore Beloit:

Beloit College (Main Campus, Downtown Sites, Strong Stadium)

Campus Walking Tour

Running & Biking Paths

Running & Biking Paths II

Running & Biking Paths III

Dining & Diversions