Unisex Bathrooms at RIT

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The iframe doesn’t work out too well on this page: I’ll have to tweak the dimensions of it in order to fit with the final publication.

This was made with Google’s Map Engine Lite, which just entered public beta today. It’s neat, since it allows you to make sets of data that is stored in “layers,” and you can change the visuals for each data point as well, or make them all the same on a single layer (as I did). You can import data via a spreadsheet, but unfortunately I was stuck with manually placing the data points.

The most difficult part was dealing with RIT’s map system. A few years ago they switched from mostly referring to buildings by number to referring them by name. Most people on campus, especially staff and uppergrads, still use the number system. All of RIT’s maps have been switched to the new system, which can be very confusing.

All buildings are labeled with a three letter code, like GIS, COS or LIB. Generally the code is simple enough to figure out. Most academic buildings are known by both number and name, so there’s little confusion. The dorms have nearly always been referred to by their name, so finding a number for them requires looking it up on a table. A row is a single building, with columns such as name, number, and code.

For some reason, the table is organized alphabetically by code, with the code being the farthest column to the right. This is very good if you’re looking at the map and you know where a building is, but not its name. In most cases (like with me tonight), I knew the name but not the physical location of the building. So this required me scanning every single column of data by eye, as the maps are PDFs or image file with no searchable text.

The bathroom data is publicly available via a PDF linked by the GLBT Center. It was last updated January 2010; I’ll look into getting an updated list. The data lists buildings by number, requiring the lengthy look-up process.

With all the data mapped out, I noticed some interesting things. The old academic buildings weren’t very good with having unisex bathrooms, but as they were built in the 1970’s, this is to be expected. Most of the dorms were built in that time, though, and they have one bathroom per floor, generally. Building 17 (microelectronic engineering) has a surprisingly high number of bathrooms. Even newer buildings like 70 (computer science) and 78 (Louise Slaughter Hall) have only one each, and these are huge buildings with multiple floors.

There’s many newer buildings without a single bathroom at all. I know that RIT now has to have at least one ADA/unisex bathroom per building now, though I don’t know when this came into effect.

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