Here Be Dragons; Making Maps (and mistakes) in Museums

Professional Forum
Matthew Tarr, American Museum of Natural History, USA, Jennifer Fazekas, Longwood Gardens, USA, Angela Kim, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA, Troy Lachance, Bluecadet, USA

GPS, Google maps, turn-by-turn directions… they have all become a part of our everyday life. So, how do museums and cultural institutions keep up with the expectations of visitors accustomed to finding the quickest and most direct way to almost any destination? Give them a map…

Mapping solutions are many and varied–from floorplans printed on paper, to web-based interactive maps, to mobile app-based maps that use GPS, beacons and other indoor positioning systems. But how do you decide which is best for your institution? What do visitors want? And what do museums want for their visitors?

This panel will discuss various aspects of creating a public facing digital map for a variety of venues — including indoor and outdoor locations, complex floor plans, and large buildings. Three institutions will serve as cases studies and a jumping off point for a back-and-forth among the panelists and attendees: Longwood Gardens, American Museum of Natural History, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In presenting overviews of the projects undertaken by each of these institutions, panelists will solicit and explore the experiences and opinions of attendees on a number of topics, including:

Motivations for taking on mapping projects.
Common use cases we will all recognize as well as edge use cases that present unique challenges.
Key moments in the lifecycle of the map development process.
Visitor expectations and how to manage them.
Metrics–how to measure success and use results as the project continues to evolve.