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The University of Essex


The University of Essex has a complex campus set into a valley, with main buildings that have entrances at multiple levels, mezzanine floors, and lifts which don't stop at all floors. 

In the past, this has made finding one's way around the site challenging; particularly so for wheelchair users who may need to follow alternative routes to the mainstream. Added to this, the room numbering scheme in the main (original) buildings is complex, and has frequently led to students - even staff - arriving late for lectures. SmartNE worked with the University to produce a radically different and more cost-effective solution

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Using CAD plans, SmartNE produced an attractive, bespoke map of the campus that could be viewed by iOS or Android devices, web browser or touchscreen kiosk. It clearly delineated via colour-coding the different buildings and departments, and added layered information showing car parks, bus stops, accessible toilets, shops etc. The map also provides a navigational tool enabling indoor and outdoor wayfinding anywhere across the site, while the app facilitates directory searches or quick searches (type the first 3 letters ...). When location searching, multiple names for the same room can be recognised, and users navigating the campus with its help can choose to take the shortest path option or a 'rainy day' (mostly indoor) route, or the most accessible.

Last year there were 48,000 users of the App at the University and up to 3,000 searches per day at the start of term. Since the system was introduced, the University has recognised other ways in which the WAi2Go smart map can be used in its day-to-day operations. It has been extended to provide a 'tree tour' and a 'historical tour' around the campus and a 'memories map' to support an open day event. It has also been extended to include the University's campus at Southend.

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