Finally! Google Maps implemented

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Google, Higher Education, Technology, Usability, Web | Posted on 15-01-2008-05-2008


We have a ‘unique campus’ at Butler, i.e. we are in the middle of a neighborhood and there is a lack of accomodations in the immediate area.  Visitors have a hard time conceptualizing where they need to go for hotels, restaurants, etc. I’ve been pushing for Google Maps API implementation for awhile, but to no avail.

With Scholar’s Forum coming quickly (where admitted students interview for scholarships, etc), we have been getting the page up for our admitted students who will be visiting.  Rather than continue to try to get the API implemented (we use a home-grown CMS that doesn’t exactly allow me to get into the code…), I went ahead and designed the Google Maps and just used their iframe embedding function.  After some tweaks to the code (Art figured out that a mere < 15 pixels was pushing the maps to the bottom of the page in IE6/7, but not Firefox), we are up and running.

This makes it easy for visitors to see where we are, where hotels and resturants are, and allows them to punch in their address for directions as well.  On the Hotel side of things, I added links to read reviews on each hotel, which I thought might be helpful.  I also included phone #’s to be on the safe side.  Since the information was already compiled, it was pretty easy to copy/paste most of the information over after I geotagged on the map.

Here’s the page:  Go.Butler.Edu < Scholars Forum < Accomodations.

You can use Google Maps for other things as well in your office.  For example, yesterday I had an admission counselor email me with a request to highlight Lake Road on this PDF map (just try finding it) so visiting counselors would know where to park for an upcoming conference.  Instead, I created another Google Map highlighting where they should park, where the building they are going to is, and a pinpoint that opens immediately giving them the option to plug in their address for directions.  Then I gave him a tinyurl for the email, and the request was done.

Tell me what you think! What are you using Google Maps for on your campus?