uOttawa Green Map

Monday, April 12, 2010

A couple of months ago I blogged about something called Open Green Maps, or if I didn’t I meant to. I am not sure if you are familiar with the Open Map concept but it is really quite simple. Take your standard map of anything and Open Maps allows you to personalize the content on the map. So you can add a picture or a description of a location to the map.

Now enter the Open ‘Green’ Map. The first time I ever heard about a Green Map was at a sustainable campuses conference in Vancouver. It turns out that some geography students of Royal Roads College had collected a bunch of coordinates for some of the green characteristics of their campus and then laid those coordinates over top of a campus map. And voila; instant Green Map.

But things have gotten a lot easier since those days of collecting individual GPS points and feeding them into a GIS program. We can all thank Google Maps for that. Although Google didn’t invent the concept of an Open Green Map, they certainly have helped bring out a culture. Using the Open Green Map website, anyone can locate thousands of green maps from all over the planet. And guess what... the University of Ottawa has one too.

We need to pause and give thanks to someone else yet again because I certainly didn’t create the University’s green map; it was the GSG Library that came up with and implemented this gem. And for those of you who didn’t know, yes we in fact do have a dedicated core of personnel that work on maps and mapping technology.

So here are the straight goods - the map is simple; there is a list of available icons that you can select from (for example – recycling center, tree, wildlife, bike path, etc.) and simply place unto a map of the University Campus. The current University of Ottawa Open Green Map has a tonne of things listed; including all the outdoor recycling centers, the vermi-composter, and the community garden.

And here is the most important thing, the map is an OPEN map, which means that not only can anyone see it but they can also add content. That’s right... anyone. I promised you that I would talk about some of the projects that came out of the Natural Resource Management Class and there is a link here. Students from the walking group created their own map (I did mention that you can create your own completely separate map as well ?) and posted it on line.

Just for your info, the walking group listed all the main congestion points, degraded paths, and potential pedestrian bridges. The beauty of a tool like this is that you don’t only have to add things that exist, you can add things that you would like to see or would like to see improved.

Check it out and maybe add something to the map.

- jon

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