Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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Real Time Occupancy Updates

Leading up to the Fall semester, we installed sensors that help us track the real-time occupancy of the Mary Idema Pew and Steelcase Libraries. The included software was designed to serve as a note to prospective visitors at an entrance as to whether they were allowed to enter or not, which doesn’t necessarily serve our purposes. A few weeks ago I built a little data collector and then started displaying real-time occupancy on the library homepage and a stand-alone page on the CMS.

Green boxes showing current number of people in each library

Last week, after reading Sarah’s Friday update about how she had visited the page a few times to get a sense of the buildings’ occupancy, I thought it might be useful to record that data for future decision-making and also to display a bit more of the occupancy data to our users. Knowing what the occupancy is right now is useful if you are coming to the library in a few minutes, but what if you want to know the best time to come when there aren’t so many people in the building?

Screenshot of visualized occupancy in bar chart form

So, in addition to capturing hourly totals, I’m visualizing the previous 24 hours of Steelcase and Mary Idema Pew occupancy.

For those interested in the technical side, I’m running a script on the server at 15 minutes after the hour every hour (occupancy tends to dip on the hour, because of the class schedule - folks leave for class 5 before the hour and folks who are coming from class don’t get here until between 5-10 after). That data is simply saved in a CSV file, which is parsed by the visualization scripts for each library. Those scripts look at the last 24 entries, and display them in a simple chart using ChartJS.