Wisconsin Geospatial News

UW-Madison Cartographers Pull Together on New Campus Map Project

For almost 30 years, the campus map for UW-Madison has retained the same basic design– a distinct oblique perspective considered cutting-edge in 1977. However, times change, and the map used by thousands of campus visitors every year needed to change as well.

Recognizing the need for a map that caters to a diverse variety of campus visitors coming by car, bus, bike, and foot, Campus Information and Visitor Center (CIVC) director Steve Amundson contacted UW-Madison Cartography Lab Director Onno Brouwer and Dr. Mark Harrower, Assistant Professor of Cartography, to lay plans for a major redesign.

During the spring of 2005, Dr. Harrower presented the redesign challenge to his Animated and Web-based Maps class. The students modeled different map features by imagining themselves as pedestrians, as a visiting lecturer, as a handicapped driver, or as a grandparent visiting a student. At the end of the spring 2005 semester, the class had created a draft that incorporated a fresh look at the basic map elements of orientation, scale, use of color, viewing perspective, and classification.

Building from the comprehensive draft developed in class, a team of five student cartographers continued work on the final version over the summer of 2005. The team had to wrestle with major decisions that affected the entire map. Should they use two-dimensional or 3-D footprints for buildings? How can natural areas be attractively shown without unnecessary detail? Which is more important—realism or simplicity? After experimenting with a wide array of new cartographic methods, the final map was printed in January 2006.

The new Campus Map and Guide is available from the CIVC office (www.civc.wisc.edu) located in the Red Gym on the UW-Madison campus.
More Information: http://www.geography.wisc.edu/News/new_campus_map.htm
Web-enabled version of new Campus Map (draft): http://www.geography.wisc.edu/archiveNews/2006/map/CampusVisitorsMapZoomify/2006_VisitorMap.html
Campus Map archive: http://www.geography.wisc.edu/history/historic_UW_campus_maps.htm