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January 09, 2006

Google Maps and your alumni!

Using Google technology to show geographical areas alumni live in.

For months I’ve been trying to come up with a workable way to use the “cool” Google Maps technology to show where alumni are from.  My colleagues and I have had discussions at lunch, at the water cooler, over a beer or glass of wine and each time we had an idea we kept running into a road block. Our concern was that alumni professionals and alumni may NOT want to have their actual locations disclosed to others.

Then like a flash in the night, Karen Zuchowski our lead Project Manager forwards an email and suggests I take a look at what Dickinson College has done with the Google Maps technology.

It was a breakthrough! I loved it.

Here’s what they did and you can do it too.  (Well if you can’t call us, we can help).  A user is shown a page titled, “Where in the USA are Dickinson Alumni?”.  The user enters a 5-digit zip code and selects a 25, 50 or 75 mile radius to see alumni who live in the area.

Dickinsonmap_4 A map is displayed that shows where alumni live, but only provides zip code, city name and how many alumni live in the area (Harrisburg, PA 17111 42 alumni live in this area) as the example shows, no other information is divulged.

(click on images for larger views) 

Dickinsonmaphybrid1_1 Using Google’s Satellite or Hybrid view, your alumni can see the block and house alumni live in.  (Remember the viewer has no idea who actually lives there only that it’s an alumnus/na)

Taken to the next level, you could improve on this idea by allowing the user to click on the users "balloon" and (assuming they have logged into the online directory and community) take them directly to that alums profile page.

Your alumni will find it a fun way to see if there are any fellow alumni in their neighborhood. You could use the tool to determine if it makes sense to invite a group of alumni from the general area to an impromptu breakfast meeting. Think how easy that would be if you could simply click on their “balloon” and invite them to breakfast.

Try it yourself, visit:

Dickinson Alumni locator

What are your thoughts? What could you do to improve on this idea?  How do you make it so it is useful to your alumni?

Posted by Don Philabaum on January 9, 2006 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I think it is awesome....how do I get it?

Posted by: Michelle Seli | Jan 10, 2006 4:58:47 PM

I love this idea. Can this be done for those of us who are using a thrid party online community for our alumni? Or do you need dedicated in-house web technicans to embed this into your website?

Thanks for any feedback explaining the details of creating this system.

Posted by: Brett Faulknor | Jan 10, 2006 5:06:17 PM

Great idea with many uses beyond those stated. Just curious, does Google charge for this service and how did you set up the relationship with them? I did not see business mapping listed while glancing at their business solutions site.

Posted by: Kevin Kardasz | Jan 10, 2006 5:09:58 PM

No workey...

I found your blog from a google search because I'm interested in implementing something similar, but, I clicked the link and... no workey. Blank content, framed by the Dickinson College stuff.

Dunno if this is a google issue or yours. Let me know if you figure it out.

Thanks for your post, though... It solves the privacy question I had.

Posted by: Kevin Lyon | Aug 4, 2006 3:10:04 AM

I am helping an Arrowhead Alum create a website. I love the idea of using google maps. Can you help me implement this? Are there directions somewhere?
Thanks!

Posted by: Donna Smith | Oct 3, 2011 11:55:49 AM

I am helping an Arrowhead Alum create a website. I love the idea of using google maps. Can you help me implement this? Are there directions somewhere?
Thanks!

Posted by: Donna Smith | Oct 3, 2011 11:55:49 AM

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