3D Maps for Theme Park Navigation and Marketing

March 29, 2018 by Shane Gustman

Going to the local theme park is a big event for every member of the family. While parents may tell themselves that the trip is for the kids, there are just as many adults over 30 riding on the roller coasters and snacking on funnel cake as there are youngsters having a blast. Theme parks are built to be exotic, to take you completely out of your usual environment with dramatically built sets, bright colors, and huge rides. Even getting through the gates can be an ordeal for the family but actually navigating the park? Needless to say, most people spend a good portion of their time in theme parks looking at the map and trying to figure out how to get to their next favorite attraction.

The 3D Theme Park Map

While those glossy folded maps were incredibly useful in the days before everyone had a mobile device, now there’s a better way. 3D mapping is the latest innovation in map technology and it just keeps getting better over time. Rather than accessing that same glossy map graphic on your phone, it is now possible for a theme park to offer a fully comprehensive and explorable map to every visitor with the use of today’s 3D rendering technology. Rather than trying to match the illustrations of rides and shops to the actual structures, theme park visitors could instead look for exactly what they want and then virtually track the path it would require to get there. Combined with accurate GPS, a 3D theme park map could even take visitors on a step-by-step tour of the park. Let’s take a look at just a few ways that 3D maps can transform the theme park experience.

Viewing the Whole Park

When users first log into the theme park 3D map to start tracking their progress and finding their way through the park, the first thing they should see is an overview. Much like the traditional glossy maps only much more accurate, an overview of the park can give visitors a very clear idea of where they actually are and how far obvious attractions are from them.

It would also be possible to integrate a quick-tour, a flowing visual guide in which certain popular paths are traced for new visitors. This is a completely different kind of overview, one that many video game players will know exactly what to do with. A quick guide through the park is a great way to get an idea of how to walk the paths for best results for those who don’t yet know what they’re looking for or what they’ll like best about the park.

Finding the Food Court

It almost never takes long for a family walking through the summer sun to decide it’s time for lunch. No matter how big the park or what the theme is, there is always at least one food court full of delicious fried delicacies for the family to split up and choose from. Finding that food court, on the other hand, can be harder than you’d think. Especially if visitors get all the way to the opposite end of the park before getting hungry. A 3D map not only makes it easier to locate the food court, it can also allow visitors to take a look at the shops and even menus available before their feet carry them to the spot.

For theme parks built with a more scattered restaurant style, there are often more options for cuisine but finding what you want to eat becomes far more challenging. Here, a 3D map would be even more helpful because it would allow visitors to search the area they’re in or plot a path to the precise restaurant they are looking for.

Splitting and Meeting Back Up

Of course, any larger group of theme park visitors will almost inevitably split into two. One group will want to ride all the biggest rides while another group is more interested in the shows and ground-level attractions. When this happens, the group will need a way to keep track of each other and meet back up after a certain amount of time.

While families and groups of friends have been figuring this out for decades, the methods are often hit-or-miss. There are always missed connections or one party trying to meet at the wrong place. Sometimes even the glossy paper map isn’t good enough. “Oh, you wanted to meet at the giant blue horse!” However, when everyone has access to a detailed 3D map on their phones, landmarks and even directions can be given exactly instead of guessing based on what the illustrated map depicts. With the right app 

Getting to Your Favorite Rides

Once the groups have split up based on interest and energy level, the next goal is to actually find the rides and attractions that inspired the split in the first place. Most guests between the ages of 11 and 35 will be most interested in the biggest rides. While these are hard to miss in a general sense, it’s often much more difficult to find the actual entrance to each ride.

Not only can 3D maps guide theme park visitors to their favorite rides, you can also add an extra layer by mapping the space inside some of the rides. This can allow people to check out the inside of the rides and navigate back to friends if you wind up on opposite sides of the line area.

The Infirmary and the Lost & Found

Finally, every now and then a day at the theme park goes a little sour. Whether it’s a bad corndog, a scraped knee, or a missing purse, someone will need to find the one public utility area of a theme park: The infirmary and the lost & found, which are usually located in the same place. Because this area is supposed to be tucked out of the way to not distract from everyone else’s theme park fun, it is also nearly impossible to find. A 3D map with guided paths can help a family or distressed teen find their way to these elusive necessary places while still keeping the infirmary semi-hidden visually from the rest of the park.

 

3D Map for Marketing Material

3D maps are great for navigation and improving guest experience but once a theme park is rendered the images can be repurposed for marketing. The real-life renderings let a marketing team bring the park into the digital world. Letting the guest experience begin before ever reaching the park.  

3D maps have a way of enhancing almost any navigation or digital tour experience. The ability to look around and see real (not illustrated) landmarks is useful enough but when the map becomes interactive and explorable with real-world path guidance, users gain the ability to find their way both from a birds-eye-view and from the perspective of what they can see in person. 

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