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MAD’s goose-dodging map

Friday, April 19, 2013

New online map allows students to plot goose nest-free routes through campus

Goose MapWith goose nesting season in overdrive, faculties, departments and individual students across campus have been applying their diverse education to one simple shared mission: “survival.”

With the help of the University of Waterloo Open Data API Mapping Analysis and Design’s (MAD) Informatics Instructional Coordinator James McCarthy has created an online mapping program that allows students to plan routes from across campus that steer clear of reported goose nests and their territorial denizens.

Find a safe route through campus here

However, as useful as the maps are, the project is about more than just protecting loafers from goose droppings.

“We wanted to demonstrate how quickly someone can pull together data from a bunch of different sources to create a useful application,” explains McCarthy. “We also wanted to highlight the benefits of Open Data on campus and how it could lead to the development of other useful applications.”

In fact, McCarthy and MAD’s GIS specialist Scott MacFarlane assembled a beta version of the map in a matter of hours.

“We think this makes for a great example of what a knowledgeable and keen developer can do in a relatively short period of time using technologies being taught in our Faculty’s courses,” adds McCarthy. “There is a lot of interest in making useful mapping applications both within the Faculty of Environment and across the campus so it made sense to put something out there to show what people in MAD and in Environment in general are capable of.”

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