It’s a little thing, but I just gotta love it when users, unsatisfied with “official” information provided by an institution, take matters into their own hands. Check out JustRoutes. The site grew out of the creators’ “frustration at [the] frankly, rather anarchic public transport system [in Dublin]. Seeing that information about bus rail and luas within Dublin was poorly collated and presented it was clear that a new approach was needed, thus justroutes.com was born.” Their approach seems to involve traveling every public transportation route in the Dublin area with a GPS unit in hand, tracking the route, and then mashing the data with a Google map. (The feature that allows you to pinpoint your start and endpoint is very cool, btw. Why isn’t that a feature on “vanilla” Google Maps?)
Last week, I presented with Rob Ponjsajapan of Georgetown University and DTLT’s own Andy Rush about social media (and the philosophies and concepts behind it) to a group from the College Communicators Association of Virginia and D.C. One of the messages was that institutions need to abandon the notion that they can (and should) “control” all the information about their business. These days it’s just too easy for users to take matters into their own hands. And, quite frankly, users are usually a whole lot better at defining what they need in terms of information, and, with the way technology eases the mashing, presentation, and sharing of content, they are poised to contribute something meaningful.
The real lesson, in my mind, for institutions is to pay attention to what all those users are doing. There’s also an important lesson here for students. How many of our students realize that they have this kind of power?
And, once again, I found this cool site via Emily Chang’s ehub.