This page last modified on
Claire Smith Final Project
These KML layers display buildings as they currently stand on The Ohio State University North Campus, and buildings as they will stand after the completion of the North Residential District Transformation. Because my maps display different features over the same area, the toggle feature allows the user to see buildings where they are, where they will be, and how the North Campus District will change during the transition.
The North Residential District Transformation is the most recent step in the implementation of The Ohio State University's Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP), in which the University is "committed to achieving on-campus residency for the majority of first- and second-year undergraduates" in order to "improve student retention, academic success, and graduation rates"(2, pg3). The following diagram depicts the goals and objectives of STEP.
As OSU has historically required only first-year students to live on-campus, the existing residential infrastructure simply could not accommodate such an increase of on-campus residents. This increase in beds on campus began with the renovation of the South Campus towers. Formerly four separate buildings, the South Towers have been combined into two buildings, Smith-Steeb and Park-Stradley, and residential capacity has been increased. Now, the University is looking towards North Campus for further expansion. "The North Residential District Plan will add capacity for 3,200 new beds" (2, pg23). Unlike South Campus, however, the plan for North Campus involves much greater change to the landscape. My project is an examination of the current state of the District, and of the planned changes to it.
I mapped the current and future North Campus buildings using KML polygons, which are defined by listing the coordinates of the vertices of the given polygon. It is important to remember when making polygons in KML that the first and last coordinate in the list should be the same so the polygon traces back to the first point and closes the shape.
My first step was to collect the coordinates of all the corners of the existing buildings. I did this by zooming in on North Campus on Google Earth, placing temporary placemarks on the corners of the buildings, and recording the coordinates. For instance, here is Jones Tower with placemarks on the corners:
This was a relatively easy process for the existing buildings, because they are clearly displayed on Google Earth. For the future buildings, it was more difficult. I was able to use the map of the future buildings in the NRDT plan in reference to the location on Google Earth of the buildings that will not be demolished to estimate where the corners of the buildings will fall. While my map of the new buildings is a sufficient estimation, the coordinates of the buildings should not be considered precise. This is the map from the District Transformation Plan that I used for reference:
Google Earth reports coordinates of placemarks in DMS format, and in a string of characters. For instance, the coordinates for the point Jones 1 were listed as ( 40° 0'19.94"N, 83° 0'43.08"W). Coordinates in KML files must be in decimal format, so after recording the coordinates of all these corners, the next step was to convert them to the correct format. First I separated out the degrees, minutes, and seconds into different columns for both longitude and latitude. Then, using the equation DEC =(DEG + (MIN * 1/60)+(SEC *1/60*1/60)) I was able to easily complete this conversion in Excel. The following links show the excel spreadsheets I used to record and convert these sets of coordinates. I removed the columns of coordinates in Google Earth's DMS format that were originally included in these spreadsheets in the interest of space.
With my coordinates in the appropriate format, the next step was to use them to write a KML script containing polygons representative of new and existing North Campus buildings. Again, the map of the existing buildings was relatively easy to create. It was easy to see if a polygon was missing or in the wrong place. The most delicate adjustment in regards to the map of existing buildings was deciding what height to assign to the various polygons. With the 3D building view turned on in Google Earth, the polygons had to be tall enough that they were visible without being blocked from view by the 3D representation of the building. They also had to not be so tall as to rise significantly higher than the 3D representation of the building, which would not only make the map inaccurate, but more difficult to comprehend.
When the red polygons representing the North Campus buildings are clicked on in Google Earth, they display a popup bubble with information regarding the various building uses and amenities. This information was obtained from University Housing Services. Some of these polygons and their corresponding popups are, in fact, already out of data, as the North Residential District Transformation is already underway at the time of this project. One can see from the popups that both Raney Commons and Scott House have already been demolished. This image shows the polygons representing North Campus buildings, and an example of a building information popup. I have included a link to a PDF with the text of all the popups.
Not surprisingly, the map of the new buildings was not quite as simple as the map of the existing buildings. One issue I had that I did not have with the map of existing buildings was making sure the order of my coordinates was correct. I was able to trace around the existing buildings and then feed the list of coordinates to the KML file, and it would trace them in the same order. However, with the new buildings, I could not simply trace the coordinates in a ring, because there were few guidelines to follow, and sometimes none at all.
For instance, Building J will exist in an area that is currently occupied by Scott Lawn, the parking lot behind Neilwood Gables, and the plot of land where the West end of Scott House extended into before it was demolished. It is the large, blue building in the South West corner of the map below. Building J will house new dining facilities for the District as well as residential areas in the upper floors. It is meant to contribute to the aesthetic of the Town Square and of course will need enough places for residents to eat; some that feel open and public and others that are secluded and private. Because of this, it is not shaped like a simple, long rectangle like a few of the other new residential buildings. The polygon representing Building J requires ten separate vertices. A few of these vertices were relatively easy to place because I could use Neilwood Gables and Norton House as reference. The points that did not line up with those buildings though, had to be placed in reference to those points that did. This means that I had to place the points that could reference to other buildings first, then fill in the points in between after that. However, this did not create a list of points that were in the correct order. I found that labeling the points with numbers, J1, J2, J3, and so on, allowed me to list them in the correct order to create a polygon that accurately represented the future position of the building, even if I did not record those points in that order.This image shows the polygons representing future North Campus buildings, and an example of a building information popup. The popups for the map of future buildings are unfortunately not as informative as those for the existing buildings. It will be years before some of these buildings are finished and ready to use, so information on bed count and amenities simply is not available yet. The popups include the letter identifier designated in the NRDT plan booklet, and the intended building type, i.e. residential, recreational, etc. I have included a link to a PDF with the text of all the popups.
For the colors of my buildings, I used red to signify buildings not touched by the District Transformation. This is evident in the red colors of the buildings in the map of existing buildings, and the red color of Neilwood Gables in the map of future buildings. I used yellow to signify new buildings that will be purely residential, blue to signify buildings that will be a combination of residential and dining, and green to signify buildings and areas that will be for recreational purposes.
The new principal public spaces in the District; The Lane and North High Plaza, Town Square, and College Square, are designated by tethered, extruded placemarks. They are given an altitude of 30 so they are easily visible regardless of the level the map is zoomed in. The following images from the NRDT Plan Booklet show the intended look and feel of College Square and the Lane and North High Plaza.
Serving as a "central circulation spine that will connect the District’s principal public spaces", the Oak Walk will be a centralized pedestrian walkway running east to west through the center of the District. This is represented on the map with a relative extruded line string. The Oak Walk will be a sidewalk, and therefore have no vertical dimension, but it is displayed in the image above as an opaque 2 dimensional polygon, standing vertically along the future path of the Oak Walk, so its shape and position are easily understandable. Below is another image from the NRDT Plan Booklet of what Oak Walk will be like upon completion.
(2, pg22 )