Meandering hallways and large buildings can be daunting to first-year college students. Thanks to the Google Maps indoor mapping service at Northeast State students can access their smart phones and iPads to navigate Northeast State’s main campus and Kingsport teaching sites.
“If you have a mobile device, the Google indoor map opens up your ability to navigate through the buildings with room names and numbers,” said Russell Bowman, webmaster for Northeast State. “If you are in a campus building, the accelerometer follows you around to any room or office giving students their own tracking map of campus.”
The mobile device user can follow the indoor map to all buildings on the College’s main campus at Blountville and the five academic buildings of Northeast State at Kingsport. The map identifies by name and building number classrooms, the offices of business and admissions, computer labs, and tutoring sites. Students can use their smart phone or iPad devices as electronic maps to find rooms housing biology classes or the financial aid office.
The new Google indoor map operates via Droid as a built-in application with Google Maps. The map can be accessed via iPhone if the user downloads the Google Maps app to the iPhone operating system.
“New students can find any classroom or office using the indoor map application,” said Bowman. “We expect this map service to be active for all current and future teaching sites.”
Bowman said the College’s Information Technology department planned to include mapping of the Northeast State teaching sites at Bristol and Elizabethton in the not-too-distant future. He added that the Northeast State at Johnson City site would be brought into the fold once the facility opened for classes.
The Northeast State mobile app brings the College’s online services directly to students’ mobile devices. Northeast State became the first institution in the Tennessee Board of Regents system to launch a mobile device application in 2011.
Google, Inc., took notice of the College’s forethought and contacted Northeast State’s Information Technology department with an offer to map the campus buildings. Google representatives arrived at Northeast State this summer to map the physical space and details of the buildings at the main campus and at Kingsport.
“Google was very interested in doing this once they learned we were the first community college in the state with a mobile app,” said Bowman. “They spent one week doing the physical mapping and approximately two months configuring the campus maps.”
So what if offices are moved or renamed? Bowman said room names and numbers may change, but the building map retains its structural form in the application. If an office moves to a new area on campus, Northeast State informs Google of the changes which are updated and synchronized with the existing building map.
“The footprint of any new building – the future Advanced Technologies building on the main campus for example – can be uploaded to Google,” Bowman explained. “The end user gets the updated indoor map service to navigate the new building.”