Put Your Library on the Map, Part 1:
How to Put Your Library Floor Plan into Google Maps Floor Plans
By Ashley M. Krenelka and Robert M. Brammer
Google Maps Floor Plans allows you to upload an overhead map of each of your library floors into Google in order to make it available for Google Maps for Mobile.
Why bother? Because every good librarian knows that getting patrons in the front door is only half the battle. Once library patrons cross your threshold, they may easily become lost in the stacks and be too embarrassed or overwhelmed to ask for assistance. Placing your library floor plan maps into Google helps lay the foundation necessary to add points of interest to the interior of your library. The goal is to help your patrons successfully navigate your library and make the most of your collection.
Before you start, you will want to gather maps of your library and prepare the maps of each floor that you want to upload to Google. We used the free, open-source software GIMP to remove any labels from our map that could become outdated and which would be more appropriately marked by an easily modifiable point of interest. For example, the location of federal materials could change, but the location of the elevators will not.
Now, let’s get started. First, navigate to maps.google.com/help/maps/floorplans. Log in using any email address you have associated with Google. We recommend using a work-affiliated email that is linked to Google through the Feedburner program or other Google programs. This is recommended so that the login email relates to the institution for which you’re uploading the floor plan. That said, anyone with access to a building’s address and interior maps could upload a map to Google Maps for Mobile as long as they log in through Google.
Type in your library street address, and locate the overhead shot of the building. Place the marker on the center of the building. Type in the building’s name. We used the school’s name, then the formal name of the library. Then, input the floor label. The floor label corresponds to your elevator label. For example, use “L” if that is how your lobby is labeled on the elevator signs. Next, input your floor number. This number indicates how many stories above the ground the floor happens to be (our “L” level was inputted as floor number one). Upload the floor plan image into Google.
You will then be asked to put three markers at three corners of the building. We picked N.W., S.W., and S.E. Next, you will be asked to match up the corners of the image to the corners of the building so you can ensure your floor plan is oriented in the correct direction. In other words, make sure the east side of the floor plan is oriented to the east side of the building. You must now verify that everything is correct. This is important because once it is submitted, you cannot make corrections.
After verifying your submission, you will be advised that it will take some time before your floor plan is processed and made available on Google Maps for Mobile. You will receive an email after your floor plan has been processed. The last step is to submit additional floor plans for the other floors of your library by repeating the process until all of your floor plans have been submitted to Google. You will receive an email when each floor plan is processed.
We are still waiting for our floor plan to be approved, but stay tuned. In part 2, we will discuss when and how to add points of interest to your floor plans using Google Bluedot and how to access the final floor plans on your mobile device.
Ashley M. Krenelka (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a reference and electronic services librarian at the Stetson University College of Law’s Dolly and Homer Hand Law Library in Gulfport, Florida. Robert M. Brammer (email@example.com) is a legal reference librarian at the Law Library of Congress and was formerly a reference and electronic services librarian at the Stetson University College of Law. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Library of Congress.