Interactive Davidson Search Map

While conversing with my classmates about problems they faced with regards to geography and mapping, I recalled my own troubles finding locations around Davidson when I first arrived. While there is a standard Davidson Map, the map provides little information as to what buildings are and is generally unhelpful if you don’t already know the name or location of what you are looking for. For example, someone might know they need to find a music building, but they would be unable to know  where it was if all they are given is a long list of buildings who’s names refer to donors rather than the things they house. Therefore, I am proposing to create an interactive map that adds one more detail to the equation: Descriptions of the space indicated on the maps.

Dealing with LeFev’s ever present discussion on the difference between space and place, the key thing this project attempts to address is how space relates to the places depicted on the map. The general Davidson map only gives physical dimensions and names, whereas your average user could need much more information than that. In addition, much of the external data needed for these brief descriptions is already publicly available, just simply not organized into a usable medium.

The basic plan to put this idea in action is as follows. First, I will collect as much information as I can about all the various buildings that are important to Davidson College. This may include off campus sites as well as clarification on important areas within large buildings, such as the Duke Performance Hall in the Union. Then, a system will be created where a user can either choose a building from a map and get the associated description or type in key words or phrases into a search bar in order to find a particular description of what they need. Rushel and Herny have stated, the use of a particular type of tool is important to understand how you might limit your users in the future. The plan right now would be to make this available on a mobile app so people can access it at just about any time. Of course, like Douglas Adams said in his interview, it is important to critically think about how the tool will manifest and what problems this media might present. The biggest challenges will most likely be in the programming of the app, while data collection and implementation may simply be somewhat time consuming. It may be that the idea takes form as a website instead with easier maneuverability and different available tools.

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