UMass Boston

Updated Campus Map


A New Way to Get Around

SimplicITy—a continuous improvement theme for UMass Boston IT in 2022—produced some interesting results when Web Services Senior Web Designer Lisa Link realized that the UMass Boston campus map was in dire need of an upgrade. Lisa collaborated on the first campus map many years ago and noticed that it was falling behind the times. She knew what needed to be done to improve the design and usability of the campus map, but she also knew that she couldn’t do it alone. This led to a serendipitous partnership that produced the teamwork needed to create a fabulous result.

Enter Senior Web Developer Kevin Gerich and PACE employee Yensis Pena Gonzalez, who Link insisted should get most of the credit for the upgrade. “My role was making visual or conceptual suggestions and handing it off to Kevin and Yensis, who did all the work.” The goal was to improve the design and functionality of the campus map, starting with some visual enhancements to make it more attractive and useful. These included adding overlays to the map so that it could, for example, show where the construction zones are on campus and where people could walk. The icon marker designs were also converted into the SVG format and universal placemarker shape. These and other changes required Gerich and Gonzalez to recode the templates and perform custom coding, which is another way of saying a lot of intricate and detailed work.

Perhaps the most striking new feature is that when the icon markers identifying campus buildings and other locations are clicked on, the user sees an informational blurb about the site that includes longitude and latitude, directions to get there, and other items. All this needed to be manually edited into the system and took some time, but it’s one of the upgrades that led Gerich to say, “The map is now more dynamic than it has ever been.” He added that when construction on the long-awaited quad area is done, “We can easily update the map and the underlying markers whenever we need to.”

The main purpose of the project was to make the campus map more attractive, functional, and user friendly, especially on mobile phones, and it’s hard to imagine recent users not being impressed with the result. Go online or to the UMass Boston mobile app and see for yourself! It brings the campus to life in an entirely new way.

“The map is now more dynamic than it has ever been.” —Kevin Gerich, Senior Web Developer

Information Technology Services
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