Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Creating a Campus Map with the Maps API

Universities around the world have used the Google Maps API to create interactive campus maps. Amongst my favorite online campus maps are those that use the custom overlays function of the Maps API to overlay a custom map of the university on top of a Google Map.

Many universities have created great custom maps that include features and locations that are not on Google Map's own map tiles, such as trees, tennis courts, football stadia etc. Combining a great campus map with the Google Maps API can therefore result in a great looking interactive and searchable map.

The University of Oklahoma online campus map is a great example of using a custom overlay with the Google Maps API.

Using the custom University map as an overlay on Google Maps enables students to search the map for points of interest on campus. It is also possible to view parking areas on the map and to search the map for individual university buildings.

The Angelo State University Campus Map is a nice example of using image overlays with the Google Maps API.

Angelo State University uses a custom map of the campus overlaid on top of the normal Google Maps tiles. The custom map image is nicely integrated into the Google Map tiles so that the custom map integrates seamlessly with the Google road map.

The map includes a number of other nice touches, such as hot links to individual buildings, which allows users to share a link to a map view of a specific building on campus.  

The Loughborough University Campus Map is another great example of how to use the Google Maps API to help students and visitors find their way around a large campus.

The map uses the custom overlays function to overlay a custom map of the university on top of the Google Map. The map also makes good use of polygons to make buildings on the map interactive. If you click on any of the buildings you can view the building's name, a photo of the building and links to its page on the university's website.

Finally, the map includes a very nice search facility that allows you to search for a building or feature by name or by category.

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