Posts tagged building numbers
We have already noted that “the building numbers here don’t make a damn bit of sense. If they do follow any kind of scheme, it’s not a scheme that helps you find buildings.” So, suppose you have a workshop to attend in the AB auditorium in building 6. You might know where building 5 is, but one learns very quickly that that sort of information doesn’t do you the tiniest bit of good at CERN. Instead, your only resource is undoubtedly the ancient “WWW Map” of CERN.
(By the way, I once spent twenty minutes wandering the halls of building 6 trying to find the infamous AB auditorium. Not to be outdone, at CERN the room numbers can be just as confusing as the building numbers.)
I actually find CERN’s building map page mostly effective and a cute little throwback to a time before Google Maps. It’s the horseshoe crab of web pages, ugly but effective. Go ahead and open Netscape 1.0 (or maybe something even older) and find yourself a building, if that happens to be your thing. It’s all just GIFs and links (image maps are used in some places, but not nearly as much as you would expect), and most of the time it gets you where you need to go.
Of course though, there are some serious and silly limitations,
- Clicking top map zooms out revealing the only other zoom level available. Clicking bottom maps inexplicably takes you back to the home page. Panning is never an option.
- If you land in the Prevessin site the bottom right map doesn’t indicate this at all. From the home page try CERN Clubs Spaces > Picnic area; if you don’t have an inkling that this is on the Prevessin site then you are going to be very confused for a while.
- The orientations of the other two maps are not consistent with the the overview map in the bottom right (the only one with north properly straight up). Why they did this I don’t have a clue; my only guess is that they wanted to layout the Meyrin site a little more horizontally. This is a big reason why the previous picnic area example is so confusing, the shape of the Prevessin site is not as obvious when presented in multiple orientations.
- At least at first glance, there are no simple everything-in-a-pdf versions of the maps. There is a very prominent link to a 3D PDF that takes a while to download and render, after which you realize the 3D in this case is a useless gimmick. I have run across a PDF with 3D content a total of zero times outside of this page; there must be a very good reason for this. Actually, there are PDF maps of all the sites, but the only place you can find them is via a very subtle link at the bottom of the map page after you have clicked on a point of interest or searched for a building. There is no link at all from the main page. (Contrary to what it says, they are accessible outside of CERN, one slightly pleasant surprise.)
Hoping to discover what other information might be available, I found my way to the GS Department Patrimony and Site Information page. The page is littered with promising links that when poked reveal themselves to be dead and rotting. But, there is one handy find: a GPS navigation page provides a CSV file with the latitude and longitude of all the buildings for uploading to your navigation system. (Relevant to the discussion in our building number post, there is also a page listing the construction date of each of the buildings, but that page is not accessible outside of CERN so I won’t bother linking.)
Finally, a tip: keep watching CERN Love. We are working on a geographical component to the site that hopefully will be handy and informative. We also hope to publish some interactive informational pages that will be very relevant to the start up of the LHC. Both should appear in the next couple weeks.
If you have ever been to CERN you know that the building numbers here don’t make a damn bit of sense. If they do follow any kind of scheme, it’s not a scheme that helps you find buildings.
Building 3 is adjacent to 4, but connecting them is building … 58! About one km away is building 57. And no, it’s not chronological, because the most recent one built was 41, whereas certain older buildings are labeled in the 800′s.
Well today is a big day in my life, for I’ve just discovered, after seven years of bafflement, that there is a method behind the madness! The method, it turns out, is stupid as hell. It is revealed by this single-slide PowerPoint presentation:
We are eternally grateful to M. Fabrice Chapuis for finally bringing this to light.
I’d like to highlight some features of this numbering scheme:
- Buildings 400-499 are reserved for “Roads, Car Parks, Storage Zones”. Wait, what? Buildings ≠ Roads.
- Buildings 1000-1099 are reserved for “Roads, Car Parks, Storage Zones”. Buildings ≠ Roads.
- Almost every building at CERN could be called an office building, because they almost all have mostly offices in them.
- There are three CERN Hostel buildings, a budget onsite hotel for visitors. Two of these, 38 and 41, are rare examples of buildings with no offices whatsoever. Yet they are classified under “Offices and Laboratories.”
- Why use such limited number ranges? For example, we’re already up to 188 out of 199 under “Workshops, Warehouses and Garages.” And by the way, 188 is mostly an office building.
- Why is there a gap between 549 and 860? This will slowly drive me insane, if I’m not already.
I guess I’m glad to finally know the secret, but I think my head is going to explode anyway.