A FEW TIPS ABOUT TERPNAV

(2013-08-29) After several years of continuous use and reliable service, we're pleased to roll out even more features in TerpNav to help you get around on campus.

Besides a sleak, updated motif, our latest addition is an aerial view option (thanks to Bing) ... just click on the new 'blue box' in the upper right corner of the map itself to see a menu of available viewing options.

Our traditional functions remain the same. The default screen shows you the campus center, with clickable layers (indicated on the left) to let you overlay maps of parking information, location of food venders, recreation services and more. Of course, if you login, using your regular campus Directory ID and password, you'll immediately be able to personalize your selection of displayed layers, and choose from many more available layers, including your own (private) layers of points on campus which are important to you. For example, this is how the "class location" feature works. Go to the Tools tab, put in classes of interest and click to be given a new, personal layer of where your classes are on campus.

All "layer points" displayed on an overlay can themselves be clicked, letting you call up additional information tied with that location. Try it on the parking map to see - each of the lots has more information which can be displayed on demand. (Hint: If we got some more volunteers, then details on the food venders would be a likely next feature to add, right?)

And after you select layers or make your own in a regular browser, then please give this site a try from your favorite mobile devices. You can go directly to those 'layers' by going to https://terpnav.umd.edu/cms/fliplaunch.php so save that link. (Or you can launch FLIP layers directly by clicking on the green bug for your layer of choice when displayed on the map overlay.) FLIP layers are especially suited for viewing on mobile devices, where lots of map details simply don't fit on a small screen, but more importantly, they are intended to show what is 'around' you - digitally! (That is, it can do that if you elect to share your location information, which is always presented as an option, so you can choose when not to be visible digitally.) Files, comments, IMs and more which you place on your 'flip' will be visible to everyone close to you (within about 50 yards), and likewise you can see what they're showing. This is all per layer, and there are a lot of layers in cyber space - so remember, with TerpNav, you get to control who you share FLIP layers with. FLIP stands for "File Lending in Proximity" - use it to keep track of when friends are near you, to advertise events, to share insights which seem tied with a specific location - there is no limit to the ways you can share.

We'll publish a directory of frequently asked questions here as time goes on, so you can learn more about how to use this resource. In the mean time, please feel free to drop a note to us a terpnav at cs dot umd dot edu

ON TO THE TERPNAV MAP

ANSWERS TO SOME GREAT QUESTIONS SENT TO US ...

"How accurate are the layer point data?" Any map is a nice structure in which to organize many kinds of information, and 'layers' are how we present this "extra stuff" in Terpnav. All data here are contributed ("crowdsourced") material, so the map is as good as what the folks in our community provide. Some of these layers (such as Food and Parking) are open to all visitors and are a face to the outside world, so we do our best to keep the information up to date, but in most cases there are no authoritative data sources for us to go by in the first place. The campus has for years maintained inconsistent lists of even what buildings we have, so you'll get different views depending on which office you contact, and this is especially true for data about parking lots, which can (and do) change frequently. (For parking, the only authoritative description is what is posted on parking signs at each lot. Go by that! We can't get you out of a ticket issued by the parking czars.) What that means is simple: we'll get it close, sometimes you'll see something which needs updating, and we hope you'll let us know to do that so the next person gets even better information. Remember, crowdsourcing means everyone gives a little so we can all get a little. Thanks for pitching in.

"It's great to have my own layers of map data. Are they really private? Can I control what layers are visible just to my friends?" Informational privacy in this era? Really? We wish more users would care about this. At some level, if you have something you don't want others to know, then you shouldn't be putting it on any computer in the first place (or if you do, then at least post it on the Diamondback on line, since nobody will see it there.) Please simply assume that if you do put it on a computer then it will be digitally folded, spindled, mutilated, sent to the proverbial (if not actual) Nigerian businessmen to incorporate into spam involving cheap Viagra, lasciviously studied by agents in the West Wing in order to document purient thoughts and scanned for intellectual property of value by each member of the Chinese Central Committee. Or even worse, it might be even put on Facebook. All that said, we have no interest in what points you put on the map, we certainly aren't monitoring it, and we have the best of intentions to help you maintain the illusion of privacy in what you do, so now that you are an informed user please plan accordingly.

As for the management features, yes you can control which individuals or groups can share any layer you create. In fact, finding better ways to share has been one of the driving goals for Terpnav. The layers feature took off far faster than we expected, so we have a little catch up to do, since the management panels available to you are pretty cumbersome. You can set these up, but it might take a little perseverance for the time being. We're working on it, and in the mean time, let us know if we can help you cut through the technical red tape to set up some particular layer with groups that you want.

"How long will data on my personal layers remain available?" The answer to this one is analogous to that of our privacy question. We have lots of good intentions but can't make any promises, and you should plan accordingly. The spirit of the 'flip layers' for sharing geo-tagged data among friends or studying personal geo-tagged information is that we're operating in a pretty fast-paced environment, and that if data becomes so static that it needs to hang around for weeks or months at a time, then probably it needs to live on another server more appropriate to that. How long might that be? We're not backing up any of the user content so we are one disk crash away from you having a 'refreshed' layer space. Also, for practical reasons (as in, we can't afford to buy more disk space at this point) we're limiting the size of data you can upload in the first place; don't plan on being able to share your summer vacation videos at full HD quality using flip layers (but if they're really zesty then let us know and we'll help you set up popcorn night at Stamp, then you can announce it through your flip layers.)