So I hadn’t touched Campus Navigator since it was first released in February 2013. Elon University, which I used for my sample implementation, has changed a lot in the nearly 3 years since I published that example, so I spent a little time during the Christmas down period updating that reference implementation, which is now live.
The biggest change is obviously the locations list in the sample locations file. Updating that was made a lot easier than when I first built that reference implementation thanks to Elon’s handy new interactive map. Luckily it doesn’t give directions between 2 points so there’s a still a tiny niche for Campus Navigator. The map also included parking information, something I left out completely when I first made my reference implementation. I also discovered that several of the local businesses had since permanently closed, so those have been removed.
There’s also a nice new README.md file, replacing the old README.txt. I also fleshed out the information in the file to help make it easier to get up and running with Campus Navigator.
Potential future updates
I saw several locations that used the same street address when I was doing this. I tried to clear those street addresses out of the locations.xml file, but I’m tempted to remove street address support from the application altogether. Given that the emphasis is on walking directions, and many college locations don’t necessarily have a proper street address, street addresses don’t seem to be adding much. Latitude/longitude coordinates are also required for all locations, so it’s not like stripping street address would break anything. On the other hand, locations of interest just off campus proper (but still within walking distance) would have a street address, so there is some benefit to having that. I may keep allowing street addresses, but just not use them in calculating directions.
Another update that came to mind as I was updating the sample locations.xml file was that now there’s a handy list of locations for Elon, I should write a simple web scraping script to parse the locations on Elon’s interactive map and automatically generate this sample xml file. I’d include that script in the GitHub repository along with a list of URLs to use for testing to make it easier to populate the locations list.
None of these changes are likely to happen in the immediate future – vacation time is coming to a close and I have another project that I really ought to be working on in what free time I can scrounge up. But I’ll probably try to find a quiet afternoon 1 weekend to at least put together the web scraper for the locations list. In the meantime, if this project is of any interest to you, enjoy the update to Campus Navigator!