The University of Colorado has recently launched a pilot website for a universal campus map. There are detailed step-by-step directions from different landmarks in text and audio formats. The service has resources for wheelchair or stroller users, cane travelers or guide dog users, as well as general newcomers.

Hundreds of people could use these maps including students, professors and visitors, according to Karen Rosenschein, assistant director of disability services at CU. Blind students are currently assigned a facilitator who walks the routes to their classes with them at the beginning of each semester.

"We didn't want it to just be for blind students, but for it to have all kinds of categories," said Rosenschein.

Navigating around campus can be difficult because there is no grid system, and walking directions aren't very specific. The new map system uses landmarks including fields, fountains and surrounding buildings.

"I've been here since 2007 and it's still hard for me to get around," said Meredith Banasiak, senior instructor of environmental design at CU.

Banasiak was one of the advisers in the project. The contributing team included a technical writing class, staff from several administrative offices, student advisory committees and the mapping service ClickAndGo.

Jarad Christianson, a senior in environmental design, created the stairs-free directions and the directions for newcomers. His initial project started with an independent study in the spring semester of 2012. He spent three-to-six hours a week this fall semester mapping out the routes, gathering details and working on digital interfaces and navigation.

"I would put myself in the mindset of different users -- newcomers, visually impaired, wheelchair users, the young, old, etc.," said Christianson.

The ATLAS program at CU provided Christianson with skills and contacts related to digital design. In the future he would like to see existing digital design classes include development of a campus navigation system.

"I have to imagine there are some very creative, intelligent, and hard working people on campus who would be happy to get involved in a project like this and develop it into something that could be a model for other universities," said Christianson.

Banasiak would like to look at how universal design can be promoted across campus, integrating various CU academic fields and coursework in the future.

"While we're getting so high tech we need to be more aware and make information accessible," said Rosenschein.

An interdisciplinary team on campus recently received a $40,000 two-year grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for universal design curriculum integration. Robert Boswell, vice chancellor for diversity, equity and community engagement and a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology is leading it.

As for the universal map website, there will be some small fundraising to maintain the site fee and to add more routes. There are currently over 100 routes to and from different campus landmarks.

To access the maps visit