We just wrapped up a mapping sprint adding building footprints to college campuses in OpenStreetMap, which we prioritized since that’s where students check in using social apps that are switching to MapBox Streets. To find colleges that needed more data added to OpenStreetMap we started by looking at schools where students spend more time on their phones than on their studies: party schools.
We researched Playboy’s Top Ten Party Schools and found a handful of campuses that lacked building footprints and pathways in OpenStreetMap. Then we combed through all U.S. colleges with more than 25,000 students from U.S. News and World Report’s National University Ranking and emerged with a list of roughly 20 universities that needed additional features. Here are our results.
University of Oregon
Before editing, the University of Oregon had many footpaths on OpenStreetMap but zero buildings. After tracing all buildings, quick communications with the university got us the greenlight to use the building names from their website.
Louisiana State University
With almost 29,000 students, Louisiana State University had almost no buildings on the map. You can see how that’s changed after our tracing efforts.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is the second largest campus in the nation and one of the fastest growing schools in the world, with more than 50,000 students.
Here’s a close up of UCF’s athletic facilities.
Adding your campus on OpenStreetMap
While adding building and footpath traces to OpenStreetMap, we reached out to these colleges to get permission to add building names to OpenStreetMap based on their online maps. This worked remarkably well, and we received some great feedback and learned exciting things about ongoing campus mapping projects in the process. University of Oregon, for instance, is beginning a program where geography students will update and maintain the University’s buildings, paths, and roads in OpenStreetMap. Some schools like the University of Delaware and the University of Maryland are already using OpenStreetMap as the base layer for their online campus maps. The fact that the majority of U.S. universities already had comprehensive coverage in OpenStreetMap shows how easy it is for schools and students to keep their data up to date. As OpenStreetMap becomes increasingly easy to edit and customize, we hope to see many other universities using and maintaining their campuses here.
If your campus is missing on OpenStreetMap, you can easily become a contributor and add your most frequented campus buildings to the map. All you have to do is sign up and follow our directions to begin editing. Once you have JOSM downloaded and running, trace any necessary footpaths and use the buildings tool to trace university buildings. To do this go to JOSM’s Preferences, select the plug-ins tab, and add the “buildings” plug-in.
If you know the building names, you can add them. If you don’t you can always try emailing your university to get permission to use their campus map as a naming reference. After you have the buildings and names added, upload changes, and now your campus is on the map!
is a data intern at Mapbox where he creates custom web maps using TileMill and our mapping stack and contributes to the OpenStreetMap project by tracing satellite imagery.
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