Interactive tool gets one million hits

By McKinley Wiens

There have been many additions and improvements to the University of Calgary’s website over the past few years to make being a student easier than ever. One of the more prominent new features is the interactive room finder — launched in January 2010 — which reached just over one million page views during the summer semester.

For many first-year and returning students, the U of C campus can be confusing. This tool, however, may change that.

Designed by a team of six from varying departments at the 
U of C, the room finder is a tool that helps students find their way around campus. This tool is suitable for many situations, from trying to find a classroom, to plotting the quickest route between two locations at the U of C.

Director of University Centralized Map Services and one of the developers of the room finder, Tom McCaffrey, said the development has gone beyond expectation, as it evolved from a simple tool used by the Information Technology department. 

Found at, the tool was meant to be an inventory guide for the U of C’s computer labs, however, it grew into an interactive tool that has helped many students and visitors at the U of C campus.

“As it evolved, it became a tool that was used by the technicians to locate specific rooms and then it went on to become a tool for students,” said McCaffrey.

McCaffrey said the development of the project used effective internal, interdisciplinary resources.

“This was a really strong collaboration between IT, which supplied the equipment; facilities management, which supplied the data; and the engineering department, which helped provide some of the technical expertise,” he said. “The use of it for students to effectively plan their classes and get to classes on time improves teaching by not having disruptions with people coming late, and it simply makes it easier to find where you need to go.”

McCaffrey said page views will continue to rise as students find use for the tool.

“It started to really take off. Since 2010, we had one million hits, and on Monday we had 6,200 hits in one day,” he said. “We will probably get between 40,000 to 50,000 hits for the month of September.”

First-year English student Kaisha LeBlanc said the tool can be useful to new students who are unfamiliar with the campus.

“This campus is just enormous, and it would take me a very long time to find my way around,” said LeBlanc.

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