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Google visits Milligan to map out campus

Rex Barber • Jun 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

Soon, if you find yourself in one of Milligan College’s buildings and don’t know how to get to the office or room you want to go to, you’ll be able to pull up the floor plans to see where you need to head on your smartphone.

Shannon Castillo, director of marketing and community outreach, said Google had a team at the college this past week to map out the floor plans of each building (excluding dormitories) for the media company’s new mapping initiative.

“And when Google calls, you answer the phone because that’s pretty cool,” Castillo said of getting the call from Google requesting to map out the college’s buildings.

Google indoor mapping is a relatively new initiative from Google started in 2011.

Castillo said the Google indoor mapping service would be a great tool for new students and guests of the college who may not know where a room or an office is located in a particular building.

“You could look at that floor plan and say, ‘I need to go to room 105,’ and you would know where room 105 is and how to get there instead of looking lost,” Castillo said.

Milligan had to get floor plans and place those over satellite images of its buildings. Google tweaked those images and plans and then came to the campus to begin surveying buildings. The team walked the floors and placed points that could be recognized by global positioning satellites.

The Google team finished their work at the school Friday. The maps should be live in about a month or so. Currently, the service will only be available via Android devices. Columbia State Community College is the only other school in Tennessee that has allowed Google to map its campus buildings.

Milligan has two other digital initiatives that will soon be available.

The school plans to launch a new “responsive” website in time for the fall semester. A responsive website allows a desktop website to respond to whatever device it is being displayed on. For instance, the Milligan site would automatically adjust to perfectly fit the screen of a desktop computer, a smartphone or a tablet device.

“And that’s really the wave of the future with a lot of websites, because mobile is the way things are going,” Castillo said.

Teresa Carter, associate professor for computer information systems, said Milligan students have developed a mobile app for the school. Mobile applications are programs designed to run specifically on smartphones or tablets.

Vanderbilt University was the first Tennessee school with the first student-built app, which was a map of the campus. Milligan partnered with MIT on its app which went from a map of the campus to a full website.

“We wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before,” Carter said. “It’s the one-stop place to go for anything you want to know that’s going on on campus.”

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