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Digital school maps

An interactive school building layout next to a panoramic view of one classroom within Anaheim High School. The dotted circles indicate locations with images available while the classroom field of view is the shaded area.
An interactive school building layout next to a panoramic view of one classroom within Anaheim High School. The dotted circles indicate locations with images available while the classroom field of view is the shaded area.

Up-to-date school floor plans and detailed images can be the difference between life and death when first responders are racing against time to find a shooting suspect or to rescue survivors after a natural disaster.

Anaheim High School in California stands at the forefront of the effort to digitally map schools.


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Designers spent a month stitching together more than 15,000 high-resolution images to create a 360-by-360-degree view within the school.

While viewing current floor plans, emergency personnel can simultaneously pan virtually through all accessible places, including hallways, classrooms, closets, crawl spaces and roof access points. They can see furniture, exits and even the construction details of a classroom door.


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“This is a game changer,” Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Michael Matsuda says. “While we focus on inclusive school environments, extensive training with school staff and local law enforcement, and shooter and lockdown drills, this tool can speed up the response time in the case of an emergency.”

The nearly $30,000 cost to the large district includes no usage, licensing or service fees for first responders. Two San Diego area high schools expect to follow Anaheim’s lead in 2019.