Google Map Maker and Admissions

April 21, 2011

Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) professionals should be some of the most tech-savvy student affairs practitioners at your campus. With useful technologies being released seemingly on a daily basis, it is crucial that SEM directors, especially those who work in Admissions, be plugged in to new ways that technology can be used to market their campuses.

One of the most popular posts on my personal blog is also one of the simplest -- "Campus maps and Google." The post is essentially a snapshot of how some schools use the Google Maps API to create a custom Google map for their campus. Numerous institutions use this option for their campus map.

This week, Google announced the availability of Google Map Maker for the United States. Google Map Maker allows users to label building locations, create unique paths/shortcuts, and label the outline of buildings. It's evident that Google recognizes the potential benefit for higher education institutions. The "getting started" web page for Google Map Maker features a section for "Schools and Universities."

With Google Map Maker, anyone with a Google account can create custom content on top of your institution's Google Map presence. While the potential for amazing user-generated content is massive, it will be interesting to see if Admissions personnel will utilize Map Maker content.

According to Google, "To confirm Map Maker user contributions are accurate, each edit will be reviewed. After approval, the edits will appear in Google Maps within minutes—dramatically speeding up the time it takes for online maps to reflect the often-changing physical world."

Prospective students can get a lot of information about your institution from Google Map Maker. In fact, I predict that Admissions (and Campus Marketing) representatives will frequently fact check and update content. Schools have spent a lot of time and resources creating custom campus maps. I wonder if the custom map will fade away as Google Map Maker allows for similar content, albeit with less institutional oversight.

I will admit that the real-time mapping page that shows recent contributions to Google Map Maker is quite impressive.

How will you use Google Map Maker at your school?

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