Case Study: Destination Cleveland

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Case Study: Destination Cleveland


Destination Cleveland — the Convention & Visitors Bureau for Greater Cleveland — wanted to stimulate community vitality and create a better urban experience for its visitors and residents. The Living Map platform provided an interactive digital map of the city that gives every visitor and resident instant access to everything the city offers, as well as a single source of truth for all print map artworks.

A collaborative approach to developing a unique visitor map experience

In 2013 Living Map’s sister company — Applied Wayfinding — was commissioned to provide a comprehensive strategy for physical wayfinding for Destination Cleveland. It implemented monolith and minilith signage around the city, but Destination Cleveland also wanted to develop a digital map platform for improving visitor and resident experiences that could be made available on mobile and desktop devices.

Living Map worked collaboratively with Destination Cleveland to define how a digital map platform could help connect users to everything the area offers, from restaurants, hotels and venues to walking and cycling trails.

First, it had to be available and consistent across multiple formats. Living Map’s proprietary CartoEngine software enables multiple map formats to be output from a single master geodatabase, giving Cleveland the ability to manage and update their geographic assets from one place. From this ‘single source of truth’ interactive digital formats are made available via mobile and desktop devices, and the myriad print map outputs required by Destination Cleveland are generated.

Next, it needed to be designed so that it felt like a natural extension of Destination Cleveland’s brand. The development of the digital map’s assets and overall aesthetic was therefore informed by the organization’s brand guidelines, but Living Map went further, applying its in-house expertise in information hierarchies and city wayfinding to design the map in a way that draws attention to natural navigational landmarks.

Finally, the living map of Cleveland needed to provide specific functionality that enables residents and visitors to connect to the city more powerfully. To promote active travel the map features a ‘Bikes’ layer, which can be toggled on to show cycling routes and associated information access via interactive popouts. To increase mobility, users can click on any RTA mass transit stop to access live transit times for trams on that line.

There’s also rich information about things to do, where to eat and where to stay in the city, all accessed via interactive layers from within the same digital map.


Cleveland’s living map has been live since 2015 and has evolved to meet the needs of the city, with layers for amenities information, transport data and cycling paths. The city is seeing the results and they recognise that ‘this wayfinding system provides a seamless experience for users.’

Maura Garven, Manager of Strategic Initiatives at Destination Cleveland, describes how this tool has given the organisation the ability to “share detailed information about our neighbourhoods in real-time, helping visitors explore attractions, restaurants, and hotels along with other points of interest.”

We continue work with Maura and the team at Destination Cleveland to develop new features and identify new ways to strengthen the destination through wayfinding to drive economic impact and stimulate community vitality.

Check out Destination Cleveland’s living map

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