Several METRO bus routes run through Westchase District, but which ones? Where’s the nearest bank? How do I find where the District’s trails are located? The answers to these questions and more can now be found within a new online map created by the District to help users find what they’re searching for with just a few clicks or taps.
The map includes: METRO bus routes and park and ride stations; trails; restaurants; hotels; banks; schools; and churches. “The project started out as a mobility map to show users several transportation options for getting to, from and around the District,” said Louis Jullien, Westchase District’s projects director. “As it progressed, we realized people would want to search for various amenities offered within the District as well.”
Dealing with dynamic data
Westchase District has long featured directories of many of these amenities on its website, but only as lists without the ability to get directions or additional information. The District also has distributed printed welcome guides for newcomers to the area.
“The problem with physical maps is that in an ever-changing community they often are out-of-date the moment they are printed. It’s the same with static lists posted online,” Jullien said. “Plus, nowadays most people search for destinations either on their desktop computer or on their smartphone. We wanted to create a digital tool that would provide useful information about Westchase District in a way that was already familiar to how people normally search for things.”
A curated catalog
The answer to keeping current with fluctuating information is one based on a foundation with which most users are familiar: Google Maps. “We’re able to layer over Google Maps to not only show an outline of the District, but also to show the surrounding area,” Jullien said. “You can zoom in and out just like you would with other Google Maps and when you click on specific pin drops, more information pops up including pictures, addresses and phone numbers, hours of operation and links to websites. Google takes care of all of that. The only things we have to update and maintain are the pin drops, which highlight the existing businesses and entities.”
You can test out the map for yourself at westchasedistrict.com/view-map.