City of Vancouver

Walking mapping for a green city

Applied was briefed to come up with a new prototype of a pedestrian wayfinding system in Downtown Vancouver that would serve as a replacement to the current on-street wayfinding system. The new system was to encourage walking and exploration, as well as transit integration.

The outcome was a prototype wayfinding system for this bustling part of Vancouver that includes a mastermap for the Downtown area, various forms of on-street map design, themed print maps and a proposal for a citywide wayfinding Smartphone app.

Vancouver finder map.
Smartphone app.

The prototype was successful and roll-out of the system began in June 2014 as part of Vancouver’s aim to be the greenest city in the world by 2020.

A network of more than 200 map stands throughout the Canadian city will now feature detailed maps. The first have been installed in downtown neighbourhoods, including the West End, Coal Harbour, Gastown and the Central Business District.

The maps are oriented to the user’s view, allowing the viewer to easily understand what streets and landmarks are up the road from them. The maps, designed as a physical manifestation of a live digital blueprint of the city, can be updated regularly to incorporate new development, destinations, infrastructure, and changes to transport and other services.

Vancouver street sign. ©City of Vancouver
Vancouver street sign. ©City of Vancouver

In collaboration with sister company, Living Map, a digital database was created. It automatically produces high-quality heads-up maps, with back-end editing tools.

The data and design of Vancouver’s digital map are already being used by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and Tourism Vancouver, making wayfinding a coherent experience for all users.

A number of applications have already been created, including a downtown visitor map, self-guided downtown walking tour maps, local transit station walking maps, and a new pocket-sized bicycle route map and guide.

Vancouver digital mapping.