Design of the IIT Bombay Campus Map

Information design / visualisation

29 Kms away from Mumbai lies IIT Bombay (IITB) campus at Powai. It is spread across an area of 550 acres and is a microcosm of sorts. Serene and pleasant as it may seem with its green environs, a first-time visitor may be overwhelmed, trying to find his/her way around the campus. Take a stroll during admissions; as an insider, you will face various queries from students and their parents (Where is so and so? How to get to so and so? ) Most of the times I could not answer those queries. and it was embarrassing?

A question haunted me, why we don’t have signage on our campus?
All universities around the world have signage and campus maps to help people navigate with ease. Therefore instead of just cribbing about the problem, we designed a campus map. (Time duration for completion: Two years). Did IITB have a Campus Map previously? Yes, there was one attempt made in IDC by someone, (see the video below), but I thought we could improve it on many levels, be it content, representation and its usability. With this in mind began the journey of redesigning the IIT Bombay campus map to make it comprehensible. The most commendable effort was put in by Deepali Karanjavkar with the physical 3D model of IITB she designed. It is installed on the first floor of Main Building. This effort paved the way for an isometric map design by Shishir Bhagade. 
Product Photograph: IIT Bombay Portable Campus Map - Print format

Making of the IIT Bombay Campus Map

A video explaining the process behind the design of the IIT Bombay campus Map. A step by step process explaining each iteration to make it user friendly.

Understanding design decisions in a cover photo.

Interview with Prashant Sharma (Alumnus IDC)
Read the discussion about how the cover photograph of the IITB Campus map was shot. What were the issues with the earlier photograph and how did Prashant Sharma repair them.
Tell us about the difference between the two photographs and what was on your mind when you shot the revised one (right one). The left one was obviously bad; since it was shot in opposite direction of light, could you briefly explain how did you go about it and what was the rationale?

Why the lamp post is made the subject of the picture?

It also looks larger than the building. The lamppost must look smaller than the IIT Main building (IIT Administration building is called as the Main building) and the trees. I shifted the focus from the lamp post to the Main building, which is the primary subject. This is the core error of the left picture.

Main building should be shot in a lit situation. The current lighting situation produces harsh shadows. When I shot the building, it was shot at that time of the day when the sunlight helps in illuminating the features of the building, rather than creating unwanted shadows. I thought, why to have different kinds of unwanted patches of shadows on the pathway (see the left picture). I kept only one shadow on the grass patch, that too only of the tree which is next to the building (See the right picture). It reduces visual disturbance in the image.

Though the main building is in L shape, why do we need to highlight the junctions?

Framing the whole building is not the criteria; main building is the focus which can be fulfilled by simply cropping out the left portion of the building from the frame. See how the altered composition makes a huge difference.

Why a distorted building when we can show it straight?

Distortion or showing the perspective is not required in this context. The perspective of the building is corrected, rather than depicting how the lens is seeing it. I left empty space at the top (blue sky) to accommodate the title “Campus Map", this was told to me before shooting, I mean to say the photographer should know how it is going to be used.
Interview ends.

Free Download:

UPDATED: 30 JUNE. 2016
Feel free to use the IIT Bombay (IITB) Campus Map chart under the creative commons license if you are using it for Institute (IITB) related work. You do not require my permission for the same. 
Contains eight fold map PDF of the IIT Bombay Isometric Campus Map

Project Team:

Designer of the campus map 2d / isometric
Shishir Bhagade
Shishir Bhagade
UI / UX Designer
Alumnus, IDC, IIT Bombay
Mandar Rane
Prof. Mandar Rane
Communication Design
Faculty, IDC, IIT Bombay
Design Associates:
Video footage and Photographs: Prashant Sharma, Alumnus IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay
Video editing/script: Aditi Kulkarni, Alumnus IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay

Project type: Self-initiated
Client: IIT Bombay
Year of release: 2012
Languages: English and Hindi
We thank Prof. Athvankar for his insights, critical comments and discussions we had during the making of the map. Thanks to Salil Badodekar for reviewing the map at various stages and pointing out errors. Aditi Kulkarni for documenting, compiling and designing the video as a process.