This is the time of year when parents are dropping off their children to start at university or college. As well as the requisite belongings and cans of food, an essential piece of kit is a campus map to show students around their new surroundings.
A campus map may be used by students, both current and prospective, visitors and staff. The map should be welcoming and informative, and aid navigation around the site.
The map base will usually be street level, dependent on the size of the campus area and the spread of buildings, but needs to be sufficient to show access between sites. Colours used in a campus map can be bright and engaging, but also bring in elements of the corporate styling used for the college.
The layout should be clear and concise, with a minimum of clutter. An oblique view with 3D buildings may be useful as it shows how places look from a front view. This enables some artistic licence in the campus map creation, possibly showing off any historic or interesting buildings and making use of illustrative techniques to make the campus attractive. Sites of particular interest around the campus can be highlighted, perhaps in a different colour, to show where students may need to visit more frequently. For example, administrative buildings or sports and social zones can be highlighted as distinct from education spaces. Buildings can either be labelled on the campus map, or marked with a number and referenced to a key if space is an issue.
As campus maps tend to cover a small area, individual walking routes between key areas may be an advantage, particularly for new visitors. Local transport links, bus stops, cycle parking, etc, can all be of use to visitors and students alike. A campus map will traditionally only show the immediate area but can be expanded to show local facilities – sports centres, rail stations, supermarkets, etc.
A college may also provide an interactive version of their campus map, or an app, so that prospective students can investigate individual buildings and navigate the site easily. More traditionally, a campus map will be placed on a board around the site, or used in printed matter or web.
A campus map is an important part of any college’s welcome pack – useful to any visitor as well as helping new students orientate themselves in an unfamiliar environment.