Mayo Clinic patients will be able to use Google Maps
The first large U.S. medical institution to get dissected by Google Maps from the inside out will be Mayo Clinic.
Mayo authorities confirmed to the Post-Bulletin that exterior Google Street View images have already been taken, with a special emphasis on clinic highlights such as the Feith Statuary Park and the Annenberg Plaza.
Those images will go live on Street View soon.
"It just will show up one day. I suspect they're not going to tell us when it goes live," said Mark Henderson, division chair of Workstation Support Services and Information Technology at Mayo.
After the exterior views, Google mapping will soon move indoors at Mayo.
The clinic has emphasized in recent years that most of the time patients spend in Rochester is spent in the community, not at clinic appointments.
Thus, the clinic's public areas indoors will get mapped in a way that helps Google Maps users find areas of interest patients might want to visit, both inside the clinic and out, such as the Plummer Building, the University of Minnesota Rochester food court, Chihuly glasswork and Rochester Art Center.
When a person from Canada gets hospitalized in Rochester or gets a rigorous medical evaluation at Mayo, her family members and friends back in Toronto will be able to use Google Maps to see what she sees — close up.
Detailed images of the Plummer doors, for example, will be available online. A patient who tries in vain to describe her experience will be able to share visual examples.
Getting to and from appointments and finding city attractions more easily awaits only the interior photography by Google — and a little planning.
"We're ready. We're actually in the process of doing that right now," Henderson said.
The interior mapping will be done after business hours.
"They have our maps, they walk through our hallways and — I don't know how it happens — but it all matches up," Henderson said. Room numbers match the Google-Map room numbers. Water fountains on the maps really show up where they are supposed to be.
Mayo spokesman Alexander White said Google shared "just enough" information so Mayo could prepare for exterior shots.
The mappers themselves, White said, get 24 hours' notice of where their next mapping session takes place.
That leaves little time for the clinic to get ready for what will likely be an after-hours tour by mappers when they capture images from the clinic indoors.
White said there's a reason Google chose Mayo.
"We're on the cutting edge," he said. "We're right up there with those guys, and that's why they came here."
For so long, said clinic spokesman John Murphy, "beginning with the Mayo brothers and the (Franciscan) Sisters, they realized that the environment was part of the healing process."
Soon, the Mayo environment will be easier for patients to navigate.
"This is a very useful tool that we get to offer because of Google, and it doesn't cost anything," White said.