The original idea behind creating an interactive map of the Minneapolis Skyway System stemmed from the desire to not only know where a particular destination could be found via the skyway, but also how to get to it. Well, we’ve come full circle. After much thought and discussion on how to best represent and implement navigational directions for the 8 miles of complicated skyway paths and intersections, we are now happy to announce our building-by-building directions available in the skyway map.
Turn-by-turn directions that we are used to in other mapping applications work great, but the problem in the skyway is that there are no street names for us to tell you to turn at! Another idea we had was to simply allow a mobile phone user to follow themselves along a path on our map using geolocation technology, but we learned early on that it is simply not accurate at finding your current location when inside buildings. The little blue dot on the screen could just as likely put you in the next building over as it could find where you really are standing.
Our approach required complex implementation, but a simpler solution for the user. There are, in most cases, signs in the skyway that tell you which building you’re in or which direction to go to find a certain building. So, using an algorithm to find the shortest path between a chosen start and end point, we provide you with a simple list of buildings to travel through as a guide.
We hope that by using these directions you’ll find yourself venturing out further and further into the maze for lunch, or if you’re from out of town that they get you where you need to go on time. One day, you won’t need them at all, you skyway master you.