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Duke Online Map Beta Test Page


Many thanks for helping to test the new Duke online map.
Before you open the map site, you might want to review the FAQ below:

What is the purpose of the online map?

    The map aims to be an easy-to-use, web-based system that gives visitors, patients and students information on how to find campus and Duke University Health System locations, as well as links to the web sites representing those locations.

How does the map work?

    The map system consists of a number of campus and Health System map views and a database that feeds departmental and other information to the pages. Each page is made up on the fly from inserted database information. To reduce the cost of maintaining the map, that database includes an administrative maintenance interface, so that Duke personnel can make most changes without having to return to the developer, Renaissance Interactive.

Why do the map pages include so many menus, rather than just showing map views?

    The designers realized that the interfaces for many campus maps, including those at Caltech, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Penn State,Princeton, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and the University of Florida were not particularly rich in search capability or menu links to campus locations. (The most extensive collection of campus tours and maps is at CampusTours.) Some campus maps, in fact, included no search capability. Since people typically search for popular locations, buildings and departments by name, the designers believed that including those choices on the pages as drop-down menus or in a keyword search produced the most useful interface.

Why do the map pages leave space blank on the side of the screen?

    On some displays, the blank space that appears on the side allows the map system to work with different browsers and different display screens. On those displays, filling the entire screen would result in either scrolling or disrupted layout.

Can't the maps be bigger and more detailed?

    Not without increasing download time. Many users will access the maps over lower speed modems, so the Duke maps had to be small and simple enough to load in a reasonable amount of time over those connections. Commercial map systems such as Mapquest and Mapblast! face the same problem.

Why does the map include photos of the buildings?

    Besides showing off Duke's campus, the photos are a useful guide to finding buildings.

Except for the labeled buildings, I can't locate buildings on the maps. Can anything be done to identify the buildings on the map itself?

    Yes. There are plans in a future version for a "rollover" identification of buildings. In that version, placing a cursor on the building will cause an identification and link to pop up. However, budget limitations meant that this feature had to be postponed.

Can there be a zoom-in capability or the capability to map routes from one place to another?

    Not given the existing budget for the online map. This capability would require technology that is currently out of the range of that budget.

Where can I send corrections and suggestions?

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