Interactive WebMap Services
Today’s on-demand, all-the-information at my fingertips standard puts a great deal of pressure on facility marketers to provide nearly endless relevant information and at the same time providing clear and visually appealing aesthetics all meshed with brand standards. Wow, that is a lot to ask of any map!
To us, the goal for effective wayfinding illustrated maps is to present the reader with an overview of the subject area and then give options to amplify the features that the reader wants to know more about. This strategy maintains the beauty of the artwork, yet thought interactivity, provides a strong platform for drill-down information and cross linking options. You can even embed 360° flash or take your viewer to departments or provide even more in-depth information web pages.
For our Interactive Webmap, the process begins with our 100% digital artwork. We then creatively add information in an intuitive environment, using mouse tip-enabled hot spots. As you can see by the Interactive Map example in our portfolio, our client elected to present a campus keeping the same viewpoint for both 2D street view and a full Illustrative view renderings. This is important as wayfinding can be presented in both 2 and 3D, since the viewer is not required to re-calibrate their understanding with a different vantage point. The exciting news about this technology is that it’s also perfectly positioned for touchscreen information kiosk applications – today or tomorrow.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How does the Interactive Map work?
Since we create all of our maps using 100% digital, we can incorporate our client’s artwork into a fully interactive web enabled map. As in our sample map, this technology can be used both in 2D and 3D Illustrated Maps. To accomplish this, we partner with a firm who has developed an innovative set of web tools. Then once a Webmap is created, we train our clients on how to maintain their webmap. Then our client’s staff can then self-update it as needed. When things need to be changed, you want to change them now – and our software is very easy to learn and maintain.
The working map can be incorporated into your site either as a link or as a fully functioning system that resides on your server. The choice is yours. A modest fee is charged to maintain your entire source files on the mapping server so that if your server crashes or if you need to make any substantial changes, all of your source files are protect and ready to use at any time. One big advantage to this system is that your staff can edit and work on the source file map, perfect it, and then click “publish” and your site is instantly up to date. No programming, no code, no PC based software to buy, and all of this can be done at any computer with Internet connectivity.
Why settle for the ordinary static map when you can give your viewers a true interactive experience?
Why would you use both 2D and a 3D Illustrative versions?
We have learned that people tend to wayfind in two basic groups: Grid and Visual Cue. Perhaps it’s the whole left / right brain discussion, but when given an option, people tend to prefer one to the other.
Another reason to consider 2D style maps, is the absence of buildings and vegetation permits certain types of information to be presented without conflict for the eye. Directions and driving may be the consideration or safety issues like emergency phone locations are best show without trying to “see” through trees, buildings and the lively colors of the fully Illustrative Map style.
Also you might have a great deal to show your readers. By using the Grid style for more of the technical informational aspects (parking lot criterion, embedded video, transit locations, etc) you leave the Illustrative map more for larger building oriented aspects. The opportunities are limited only to what information you want to provide – drill as deep as you want to go.
What client provided materials are needed?
This depends on what is to be shown. Simplistically we take our 100% digital graphic we create and then apply either icons or HTML hotspot shapes on top of the art to enable the information to be shown when “hovered” over by a mouse point. When creating this type of map, we need quality photos, text, and any linking data that you want to incorporate. In addition, this information needs to be well documented on a plat or site plan so that we can apply the icons and hotspots accurately. For best results, we like to use quality architectural photography of the subject buildings plus concise text / descriptions that we will use in the creation of the highlight slides. We have a simple worksheet that makes collection of this material organized for both parties.
Does having a fully Interactive map require us to own special software?
No. In fact we partner with a very innovative organization where the creation, maintenance and publishing are all accomplished on their server. Then once the Interactive map is created, the inclusion in our client’s sites can be accommodated with a couple options: a link to our partner or have the working files reside on their server.
Part of our client services includes training on how to use this software, which is always available to you and your organization via password. This feature allows you to modify your map on the instant, rather than long periods of meetings, planning or back and forth emails. Go in and add a new feature to the map on the map-creation server, get it just the way you want it, click “publish”, and your website is updated instantly. Make a mistake? Redo it again and republish. One feature that makes the great for collaborative organizations is that you can have a fully functional updated working map, then provide access to your departments, gain internal approvals, then amend and publish. No concepts or powerpoints – your team sees and works with a fully functional map where everyone can “test drive” it before it goes live. All the while your current map remains fully functional on your website.
No programming required no special software, and a modest training period. What’s not to like?
What are the long range costs?
As stated, the Interactive mapping software resides on our partner’sMapsAlive server. To keep your map and its features fully amendable in the future, a modest yearly fee is charged to maintain your map, slides and tools. Typically this is $199 per for membership a year for a traditional campus map plus fees for design the interactive map (fees are based on how many detail slides used)
Fees are simple and straightforward. If you elect to not maintain your slide history, then your ability to easily modify your Interactive WebMap is more complex. In all events you have control over where the map is located – on your server or theirs.
How is the Street (2D) created for the Webmap?
When an Interactive map is desired, the first thing we determine with our client is the end product styles. If our client wants a matching view street and Illustrative map, then we begin to develop the composition, layout and point of view angle. Next, building footprints are applied in accordance to the oblique angle of the view.
At this point, this is where 2D is completed as its own product. Since the angle, layout and geometry is the same as the 3D Illustrative map, the reader can understand the wayfinding viewed from the same perspective. Then based on our client’s needs, we apply slides and links to the 2D artwork.