An app to help stressed students find their way across campus
Using custom venue maps from HERE, Deakin University in Victoria, Australia has launched an app to help students navigate their way around the university. Now, students searching for the location of a lecture or exam can turn to the Campus Compass app, and ensure that they don’t miss a thing.
Each term, 40,000 students set foot on the four Deakin campuses. There are also numerous visitors, guest lecturers, visiting faculty and others that need help finding their way around and between Deakin’s expansive campus network. Navigating an unfamiliar campus can be intimidating, not to mention stress-inducing when you lose your way and risk showing up late for a lecture or exam.
Recognizing this struggle, Deakin University decided to launch a wayfinding app that would help anyone in its academic community navigate to unfamiliar buildings and find rooms with nondescript names. To build the app, Deakin turned to Metroview Systems, an Australian software company specializing in custom mapping and navigation solutions, along with HERE.
“The basic challenge Deakin wanted to address was helping people find a room with a random name like BC3.016. Which campus? Which building? Which floor? Where to go on the floor?” says Mike Dell, CEO of Metroview.
“Our job was to build an app that not only displays the exact location of that room, but also gives the user turn-by-turn directions right to the classroom door, whether they are starting out from home or from another point on campus.”
Creating the app
To pull it off, Deakin first needed to make a highly detailed map of their entire campus, from the inside to the outside. Deakin turned to HERE to create a precise venue map of all 250+ floor plans representing the buildings, facilities and the numerous walkways between them. This required HERE mapping experts to first convert the digital floor plans into 3D venue maps. Our engineers captured any missing data from the floor plans and recorded open spaces and walking paths by walking through the campus with a special smartphone app. Even Deakin’s tricky elevated walkways and multiple outdoor stairways have been included to ensure that accessible navigation can be identified.
Then, all the classroom data and academic calendar provided by Deakin were encoded and combined with the venue map data to enable search and navigation.
Now, to get from home to room BC3.016 is as simple as opening the app and typing in the room name in the search bar. The app displays your current position, the destination location and with driving, walking or public transit directions available, students can plan their journey door-to-door.
Mike tells us this first version of the app, which launched earlier this year, is meeting its initial goal, to “navigate the user easily to the classroom”. The reaction has been positive, with 4,000 downloads of the app in the first two weeks.
Future plans for the app hope to build on this success and make it even easier to connect with other campus services. Features could leverage indoor positioning technologies and access to real-time information like parking availability, emergency warning systems and the student’s calendar.
With these features, Campus Compass is set to be used for more than finding your way from the student café to the next lecture, and instead could streamline the campus experience, leaving time for the more important things - from studying, to those all-important social interactions.
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