Spring NEARC 2012

Alexander Schreyer, University of Massachusetts Amherst, BCT Program and,

Alexander Stepanov, GIS Architect, University of Massachusetts Amherst, A&F Administrative Systems:

The University of Massachusetts is currently in the process of creating a strategic long-term plan for its physical campus development. This plan/strategy is the result of a recent master planning process and is intended to be transparent and inclusive. To achieve this goal, UMass explored innovative applications of web spatial technology to facilitate the planning process and to learn about the campus public’s perception of our campus and its places.

Campus Planning (CP) and the Building and Construction Technology program (BCT) built two separate tools with similar intentions to crowd-source the public’s feedback: a) “My Favorite Places”, a website built with Google Maps JavaScript APIs, PHP and MySQL and b) “Likes and Dislikes”, a web app implemented using ESRI’s Flex Web API and Drupal as a backend. Both have been very popular and continue to yield feedback on the campus. With the current trend towards location-based socializing (e.g. using Foursquare), these tools also provide a usable concept for a university to adopt the social component of a favorite places site into providing a venue for students to express their interest in a particular place (and share it with others).

In this presentation, we will discuss the issues related to using spatial web technology to support a public decision process as exemplified in the UMass planning process. We will also discuss technical details of both project implementations and will share what we have learned from our experiences.

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Spring NEARC 2012

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