We’ll admit, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect when we agreed to judge the annual Best of CES Awards without an in-person show. How many companies would show up to an online-only show? What would we lose without being able to wander the halls of a massive convention center and see the products up close? As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. More than 1,900 brands, big and small, turned up this year, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the industry group that organizes the show each year. What’s more, many companies found socially distant ways to show us their latest and greatest in person, ahead of the show. (That’s especially useful for the TV category, wouldn’t you say?) In the end, we had enough fodder for 14 categories covering hardware and services in every sector from home theater to transportation to accessibility tech. We’ll announce the winners tomorrow at 4:30pm ET during a ceremony on our virtual stage, which we’ll livestream to Engadget.com and our YouTube channel. We’re also continuing tradition and opening up voting for our People’s Choice Award — our reader poll is live now and closes tomorrow, ahead of the ceremony. Please be sure to vote, and congrats to all of the finalists! — Dana Wollman, Editor-in-Chief GoodMaps Explore (presented by American Printing House for the Blind) GoodMaps Explore is a navigation tool that’s all about the next step. Designed for people who are visually impaired or blind, the app delivers detailed directional information through a combination of text and clear, responsive voice commands. Hold up your phone and the app will identify nearby businesses, streets and points of interest, adapting as you move and reading out cardinal directions along the way. The team has begun mapping the inside of buildings using LiDAR as well, and plans to bring the GoodMaps Explore technology to more indoor spaces over time. GoodMaps and the American Printing House have partnered on the app, which is now available on Android after initially launching on iOS. — Jessica Conditt, Senior Editor Article source: https://www.engadget.com/best-of-ces-2021-finalists-210053034.html
From TomTom and Garmin to built-in apps on every smartphone, people have been using turn by turn navigation for outdoor travel for almost two decades, but what happens when you step inside the office building, store, or airport? For people who are blind or visually impaired, the maps, monitors, and hanging signage provide no additional information on the correct direction to go. The concept of accessible indoor navigation, while well discussed in the disability community, is still in its infancy when it comes to implementation. GoodMaps is working to change that. What is GoodMaps? For several years we at APH worked to develop the beacon-based navigation app, Nearby Explorer, which allowed users to not only navigate outdoor spaces but indoor public spaces within the same mobile app. The more work we put into the program, the more it was evident that we needed to find an easier to implement, more accurate indoor positioning option to make public spaces universally accessible. In comes GoodMaps. Born as a spin-off of the work APH started, GoodMaps started in early 2019 with a mission to further the cause of accessible navigation building on the work of Nearby Explorer with some game-changing innovations. The first major change made by GoodMaps was to move away from the less accurate, more expensive, and burdensome hardware infrastructure that had been limiting the viability of indoor navigation for decades. Now powered by LiDAR-based mapping, GoodMaps creates maps by using mobile LiDAR scanners, which quickly produce digital representations of the space. By utilizing LiDAR and image recognition, fast and accurate maps are created at a fraction of the effort of traditional indoor hardware approaches. Camera-based positioning (CPS) provides potential accuracy as good as three feet, a vast improvement over the 10-50 foot distances of beacon technology. This was just the first of the team’s goals. The GoodMaps Advantage promises; more accurate navigation, more simple implementation with little to no upkeep, to be more usable by providing free and intuitive apps for users, and more secure for the venues who can control levels of information access. Partnership with APH Huntington APH Huntington, a new program in Huntington, WV, provides access technology and self-advocacy trainings to people in the community who are blind or visually impaired. One initiative of the program, the APH Huntington Indoor Navigation Initiative, is brought to the Huntington community in partnership with GoodMaps. Since September 2020 GoodMaps has mapped: Cabell-Wayne Association for the Blind Cabell County Public Library Phil Cline Center of the Huntington YMCA Brad D. Smith Business Incubator More to come in 2021! Learn more about APH Huntington. GoodMaps Explore for Android Users Previously only available on iOS devices, you can now access the GoodMaps app, GoodMaps Explore on Android devices by downloading it from the Google Play Store. Learn more about their recent update and hear from users about what they love about navigating the world with GoodMaps on the site. Looking Forward to 2021: An Exciting Year to Come Stay tuned for all the exciting new announcements to come in the new year. From presentations and conferences to launching a new Smart City, GoodMaps has a lot of exciting announcements that we just can’t tell you about yet.
GoodMaps Explore is an accessible wayfinding app designed primarily for people who are blind or visually impaired, which sets a new standard for indoor navigation across the globe. GoodMaps Explore uses audio instructions to communicate routing and critical spatial information as users move through a space, whether indoors or outdoors, drawing upon GoodMaps’ state-of-the-art digital maps. In doing so, GoodMaps has solved four problems that have frustrated the field for several decades by: Delivering superior positioning accuracy with minimal infrastructure, Dramatically speeding the process to digitally map a building, which provides the foundation for the app, Creating a way for building owners to securely control their mapping data, Providing the public with a complete package of maps with an app to actually use them. Hear from our Users Warren Carr, Android Beta Tester "When I am able to hear what streets I am crossing, the independence I get from that as a blind person, is the fact that it makes me know more about the streets in my city, thus, knowing what street is where, and how to get there. Besides, becoming available on Android, means that the many blind people like me who are on Android, can now benefit from the app that a few months ago, they could only wish for." Taylor Cox, a student “Using GoodMaps Explore for the first time was so crazy. I walked around my neighborhood and I notice things that my mom and dad didn't notice. I saw the street names that I was walking on and I knew which Cardinal direction I was facing. It was really an amazing eye opener for me.” Bob Sweetman, a blind professional "Virtual exploration is awesome! For example, I was able to look around the American Printing House for the Blind building and understand how it is laid out and get directions to different points inside the building. I think the aspect of having indoor and outdoor navigation is going to be fantastic." Jamie Murdy, a teacher of the visually impaired "Overall I have found it to be intuitive and easy to use. As Taylor mentioned, she could pick it up and get immediate information from her environment without a lot of training. Most of my students, and any kid in general, is good at their phone. So, it's nice that it's on a platform that they are used and able to use. A few days ago, I had one of my middle school students, and I said, “OK your homework is to download this app and explore it and tomorrow I am going to ask you what you learned about your neighborhood.” I didn't tell her how to use the app at all. The next day, I said “OK tell me what you learned.” Her first response was, “It was very easy to use, there's tutorials for each time you go to a new section of the app it tells you how to use it.” Then she started telling me all about her neighborhood. She told me street names that she didn't know and that there is a bus stop a half a mile from her house.”We don't need to be experts with the technology, for us it's helping our students learn how to interpret the information the GPS is giving them and apply it to their environment. and being able to generalize skills to travel independently. Explore is another tool that we can add to our toolbox. The more we provide our students, the better off they are going to be as far as their independence in building mental maps. Features Location Aware - On-demand and automatic updates about your immediate surroundings. Favorites - Save any Point of Interest (POI) and, outdoors, create your own favorited POIs. Indoor Routing - Accurate indoor routing for independent travel (supported buildings only). Lookaround - Direction-based discovery at your fingertips. Virtual Mode – Preview and plan before you go. Easy, Accessible Tutorials - Get started quickly with in-app help. Search for POIs indoors or outdoors. Locate nearby intersections. Integration with Be My Eyes to provide live visual assistance. Tips to finding Explore on the Google Play Store Search for GoodMaps Explore. GoodMaps is one word and Explore does not end in the letter R. The Play Store might autocorrect to Google Maps, but there will be an option to select "Search instead for GoodMaps Explore.” If you have questions or feedback about the app, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Louisville, KY. (December 15, 2020) – GoodMaps is proud to announce that it has been named a CES® 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree for GoodMaps Explore. This announcement is being made ahead of the first-ever, all-digital CES 2021, the world’s most influential technology event, happening Jan. 11-14, 2021. GoodMaps CEO Jose Gaztambide says, “I am honored and humbled to accept this award from CES on behalf of the GoodMaps team. It reflects the tireless hard work that the entire GoodMaps organization has invested to achieve and propel forward our mission to make the indoors more accessible, welcoming, and safe. We thank CES for their recognition.” GoodMaps Explore is an accessible navigation application. It helps everyone, visually impaired or not, navigate indoors and outdoors safely and efficiently. To make that happen, GoodMaps is on a mission to map the great indoors by streamlining that process. We can accurately map a building in the time it takes to walk through it. All of these maps are available to Explore app users. Another revolutionary aspect of GoodMaps Explore is the superior positioning accuracy provided by camera-based positioning (CPS). CPS is not limited to indoor positioning and has the potential to bring this accuracy level outdoors. There are three components that make the Explore application invaluable to those who need it the most. Fully accessible platform GoodMaps Explore offers navigation inside buildings and public venues. From basic orientation to step-by-step directions, GoodMaps Explore gives people who are blind or visually impaired the means to explore their environment confidently and independently. Integrated mapping database GoodMaps Explore is powered by the GoodMaps mapping database that provides standardized maps that can be used on multiple platforms and are enhanced to provide print, audio and Braille location information. These digital indoor maps provide an accurate, data-rich, proportional representation of the space, as well as safety and security features for venues to protect their data (public vs. protected access). Revolutionary Indoor Camera-based Positioning Camera-based positioning can determine a user's location within 2 to 3 feet of accuracy, exceeding other methods known to date. Beacons or other infrastructure are not necessary for this system to function properly. From a single geolocated image, position and orientation can be calculated along three axes. Unlike GPS, CPS can work both indoors and outdoors. GoodMaps Chief Evangelist, Mike May, says, “Since attending my first CES in 1984 and being privileged to win two previous innovation awards, it is a huge honor to be part of GoodMaps being recognized on the CES world stage.” The GoodMaps app is now available for free in the app store and shortly in the Play Store! To learn more, visit goodmaps.com About GoodMaps: GoodMaps, based in Louisville, KY, was spun-off from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in early 2019. GoodMaps was created by APH with a simple mission: to make a leap in the quality and scale of accessible navigation. Realizing that the mission of universal accessible navigation was limited by the lack of indoor digital mapping, the GoodMaps platform and company were born. The GoodMaps mission is to improve the accessibility, safety, and inclusivity of indoor spaces by creating and maintaining accurate digital maps, providing revolutionary indoor positioning technology, and delivering a simple and intuitive wayfinding experience to all users. About CES Innovation Awards: The CES Innovation Awards program, owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products across 28 product categories. An elite panel of industry expert judges, including members of the media, designers, engineers and more, reviewed submissions based on innovation, engineering and functionality, aesthetic and design. #### Contact: Jose Gaztambide email@example.com 502-845-3113 www.goodmaps.com
Blind Android Users Podcast Welcome to episode 2 of the “Blind Android Users” podcast. In this special episode, we welcome Mike May from GoodMaps and JJ Meadow, where we talk about the app called GoodMaps Explore. The app was first released on iOS back in September and we are pleased that it has now arrived on Android at the following Google Play URL. Warren demonstrated the app shortly thereafter the interview. Enjoy this app from the good folks at GoodMaps and have a Merry Christmas. About the Blind Android Users Podcast At Blind Android Users, we strive to make using Android as easy as possible for every blind person who's starting the Android journey. We bridge the dividing gap that stands between blind people, both new to Android and those familiar with the platform, on the use of the platform and revealing what makes the OS the platform to be on! The Blind Android Podcast believes that, no blind person should be struggling with their Android device, thus, we have determine to embark on a mission of understanding Android from a blindness perspective as easy as a child's play! To learn more about the Blind Android Users podcast visit their site: https://blindandroidusers.podsite.io/
Flyover Future Presents: Innovators Podcast Episode 10: Jose Gaztambide, Founder & CEO of GoodMaps Jose Gaztambide thought he would be a baseball insider but instead is leading the charge on a new kind of mapping that is literally changing how people navigate the world. Hear the details on Jose's journey, his company GoodMaps and the concepts, ideas and data they are harnessing to change the way we think about movement. About Flyover Futures Innovators Podcast Flyover Future covers the people, companies, and institutions driving innovative transformation in our region. We talk to hundreds of modern day pioneers who are doing world class work to drive before. And, we never cease to be amazed by the creativity we are privileged to see each and every day. We want you to hear their stories directly. And so, each episode will bring you fascinating innovators who are pushing the boundaries, whether that’s starting a company from scratch, getting a multi-billion dollar company to reimagine its innovation to improve the quality of life in Americas’ heartland. We see amazing ideas being turned into world changing technologies and companies. We see Fortune 500 companies investing in the future like never industry, or finding new ways to look at emerging technology.
GoodMaps’ CEO Jose Gaztambide and Chief Evangelist Mike May will talk about emerging indoor mapping and navigation technologies that are making private and public venues accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. From basic orientation to step-by-step directions, indoor navigation technology is providing the ability to discover and explore the built environment independently. GoodMaps has developed an accessible indoor and outdoor navigation application that is powered by an open source mapping database. Listen and ask questions as Mike and Jose give us insight on innovative work the team is doing, especially in regards to indoor navigation. This presentation will be on Tek Talk, November 9 at 5PM Pacific. GoodMaps was founded in 2019 as a spin-off from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) with a mission of creating accessible navigation for everyone. Realizing that the mission of universal accessible navigation was limited by the lack of indoor digital mapping, the GoodMaps platform and company were formed. Listen to the show recording
GoodMaps' CEO, Jose Gaztambide, and Chief Evangelist, Mike May, were interviewed by Sam Jasmine and Charlene Doll for KFAI's October 29, 2020 episode of Disability and Progress. Disability and Progress is the weekly radio show that brings you insights into, ideas about and discussions of disability topics. Mike and Jose talk about GoodMaps' latest application release, GoodMaps Explore, which is backed by our state-of-the-art positioning and GoodMaps Studio mapping platform. Listen to the episode
GoodMaps, Inc. Louisville, KY Support email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.goodmaps.com Welcome GoodMaps Explore is a mobile navigation app that gives an accessible picture of the surroundings, indoors and outdoors, using speech and Braille output. Built from the ground up for people who are blind or visually impaired, Explore is optimized for on-screen gestures with mobile screen readers (Apple’s Voiceover). Explore provides location information while you move through Indoor Venues or outdoor spaces. Explore will notify you outdoors of your direction, nearest address, cross street, and nearby points of interest (POIs). The following tutorials are available individually on the “More” page of the app or when you launch the app for the first time. Explore’s primary pages are located on four tabs on the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. Happy navigating! First-time downloaders, go through the Welcome tutorial. At the conclusion of the tutorial, you will see a Location and Bluetooth services permission requests and a safety disclaimer, select okay to proceed to the standard Apple location permissions prompt. You can select “Only” While Using the App or “Don’t allow.” If you select Don’t allow, the app will not load and you will be redirected to the iPhone Settings, Explore app to “allow location while using the app” or “always allow.” Next, you will need to read through the safety disclaimer (User Acknowledgements) and select the checkbox that states that you have read and agree with the statement. If you do not accept the safety disclaimer, you will need to use the task switcher to close the app. The app will not load without giving permission to use locations and accepting the safety disclaimer. Camera permission will be requested the first time you enter a mapped building. You will hear, GoodMaps Explore would like to access the camera. GoodMaps Explore uses the camera’s augmented reality tools to obtain accurate location information indoors. GoodMaps never records videos, takes photos or stores camera data. Search Quickly search from the Location page. Search for points of interest (POIs), specific addresses, or general POI categories like “lunch”. Once you select a search result, you can get directions, add as a Getting Warmer POI, explore virtually, or add it to favorites. Favorites The Favorites Page is the second tab on the navigation bar. You can favorite points of interest (POIs) to make them easier to come back to. Favorited POIs will appear visually with a star and will be announced verbally as “favorite” on the LookAround and Location screens. Access your Favorites by going to the Favorites page. Directions Routing is available outdoors through the external Apple or Google link selections. From within a supported indoor venue, navigate to points of interest (POIs) using step-by-step routing. To do this, select a POI from search results, nearby POI, or Lookaround and choose “Directions” from the options list. Before starting a trip, you’ll see a preview of each instruction, total walking time, and distance. As you move along a route, GoodMaps Explore will notify you of upcoming turns and confirm that you’re on the right path. If you have trouble finding the exact destination, you could launch a visual assistance app like Be My Eyes from the More tab within Explore to receive sighted assistance. Location The Location Page is the first tab on the navigation bar. The Location information is announced when you open Explore. If you are outside, this location information periodically notifies you of your direction, nearest address, nearby POIs and the nearby cross street. If you’re inside, Location will include the room name, direction, and nearby POI information. Select the POI name to hear POIs nearby. To get Location information, shake your phone. Shake must be enabled under the Configuration page. Lookaround Select the Lookaround Page, which is the third tab on the navigation bar. Face the top edge of the phone in the direction of choice to hear points of interest and intersections in that direction. You will notice a slight vibration every 45 degrees as you rotate the phone around the compass, at which point the compass direction will be announced, Northwest, etc. The information will be presented in order of proximity. Hold the phone steady in a given direction to keep announcing information further and further away in that direction. If there are no intersections or POIs in the direction you are pointing, you will hear the phrase “nothing in range” and there will be no vibration. Select a POI to get more details about it and to hear options like setting as a Favorite, destination or virtual position. Virtual Mode Use Virtual Mode to explore outdoors and indoors from the comfort of home. When you hear a POI announced, choose it and flick down to the Virtual option. You must first load an indoor venue before you can choose from its POIs. To virtually move around, select a nearby POI and the, “Make this my virtual location” option. You can get directions to a POI, explore nearby POIs, and add favorites, just like you would if you were physically at that location. When you’re finished, select “Exit Virtual Mode” to return to your current active location. To see a list of indoor venues, select from the list on the More tab. Getting Warmer Once you select a POI and are on the details screen for that POI, you can get indications of the distance and direction by tapping the Make Getting Warmer POI option. You can then hear periodic announcements based on the frequency setting under Configuration as to that Getting Warmer destination. Getting Warmer is available in both outdoor and indoor Venues and can be useful in orienting generally to your destination as an option to using turn-by-turn route directions from Google or Apple Maps. User Tips Shake It: You can shake the phone to trigger the Location information. Shake is turned off by default and can be enabled from the More tab under Configuration. The iPhone shake intensity is variable. The easiest shake is when the phone is on edge using a rocking motion. If you put your phone in a pocket or holster on your belt, it may trigger frequently as you walk. The shake triggers on the Location and Nearby screens. Heading: When you are moving, your direction of travel will be announced as Heading. It doesn’t matter which way the phone is facing when you are moving. Facing: When you are stationary, you will hear directions using the word Facing. It may take five seconds after stopping to switch from heading to facing, which means the way the phone is pointed as opposed to your direction of travel. Cross streets and intersections: In Lookaround, you will hear the heading and distance to nearby intersections. Both intersecting street names will be announced. The longer you point in a given direction, the further away you will hear information. Cross streets are announced on the Location screen. You may first hear an announcement of the upcoming cross street around 150 feet from it. As you approach that same cross street, you may hear, “near Main Street.” You can always shake the phone if shake is enabled or you can touch the screen to hear the location information including the cross street if one was announced. Note that some intersections appear as POIs because they were created by a Foursquare user. While walking: Typically, you would have the Location tab selected and would use Lookaround when stationary. You may hear nearby POIs either behind you or in front of you depending on how far away they are. You will hear the compass direction you are heading and the nearest street address. When you are at an intersection, the nearest cross street address may actually be on the intersecting street so don’t be confused. The actual cross street will also be announced by name without a number based on your proximity to the intersection. You can tell the difference because the cross street announcement won’t have an address number, just the street name. Battery conservation: You can save battery drain by clearing Explore or any GPS app from the background with the app switcher when you are not using the app. Outdoor and Indoor routing: Currently, when you wish to set an indoor point as your destination, you must first create a route to the building entrance. When you arrive, you will be asked if you want to switch to indoor navigation in that building. Once you say Yes, you can set a specific point in that building as your destination and will hear the route prompts to it. The same will happen in reverse. You will be prompted when you leave the building if you wish to switch to Outdoor mode. Known Quirks Clipped speech: If you are using Bluetooth headphones, the first syllable of a Voiceover announcement may be cut off after the phone has been silent for a few seconds. This is an artifact of the phone and nothing to do with the app. Questionable English: If you are using the Alex Voiceover voice, you will hear some distances given as foot instead of feet. Other voices may not make this English mistake. POI Editing: There is currently no option to edit the name of a Favorite User POI so double check the name before you select Save.
Version 1.3.0 Create new POIs so you can easily remember where that crack in the sidewalk is or your favorite store that doesn't appear in with Foursquare or Apple Maps POIs. POIs that you create appear on the Favorites Tab and work like other POIs; you can navigate to them, hear them announced if they are nearby, set them as a Getting Warmer POI, and find them when using Lookaround. Want to open another app and still get Location notifications? Now you can! While Explore is in the background or while you phone is locked, you can hear updates about your direction, nearest address, upcoming intersections, nearby POIs, and Getting Warmer POI. Customize how often you hear Location information on the Configuration page. Set the frequency of notifications for direction, nearest address, nearby POIs, and Getting Warmer POI. Options include 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 120 seconds, and never. Points of Interest from Apple Maps are here! You can choose between Foursquare and Apple Maps as the source of POI information. Switch from Foursquare to Apple Maps on the Configurations page. Available for iOS 14 and newer. Add a Getting Warmer POI to your Location information to get updates on how far away you are from that POI. Worried about losing favorites or configuration options? When you delete Explore or switch devices, your data is automatically saved. No need to re-add favorite POIs or customize your configuration options. The formula for announcing nearby POIs has been adjusted to improve how POIs are announced when stationary and when moving. Shake to get Location information is now audio-only. The information that used to appear on screen will still be announced. The design of the tutorials has been enhanced for better usability with screen readers. Enhancements to CPS that improve indoor Directions and Lookaround. Improvements to non-English versions of Explore. Minor bug fixes.
The following is a list of various devices that we have tested and can confirm work with Explore running on iOS devices. We have provided tips for operation for some of the devices. External Braille Displays Great for getting extra details, like the spelling of a street name, in Braille. QBraille Focus 14. The Focus 14 is very portable and easy to carry. You are able to run the app using only the Braille display while leaving the phone in a pouch on my belt. Command hints: Right Nav Rocker moves through buttons and tabs. Right Nav Rocker button clicks any button or tab. Spacebar with Dots 2,3,8 switches to computer Braille input Spacebar with G switches output to Literary Braille. I could then input search addresses and points using computer braille, and read the display using literary Braille. Note that, when not using a Braille display, you can do a two-finger double-tap in the Search box, and then dictate your search address or point. When done dictating, do a two-finger double tap to end dictation.
Wayfinding: Finding the mark Speakers: Mike May, Nick Giudice, and Tim Murdoch Map apps on mobile phones are miraculous tools accessible via voice output, but mainstream apps don’t announce the detailed location information (which people who are blind or visually impaired really want), especially inside buildings and in public transportation settings. Efforts in the US and UK are improving accessible navigation. Watch Presentation
GoodMaps Chief Evangelist, Mike May, presents at the Tennessee Assocation for Assistive Technology on Teaching the New Era of Accessible Wayfinding. Over the past ten years, there have been various accessible navigation systems on the market. These systems are great in providing real-time travel information for the users but suffer from inaccuracy, installation, and maintenance needs. GoodMaps Explore, a seamless indoor-outdoor navigation app offers hands free navigation capabilities for blind or visually impaired users to travel free and independently. Our indoor positioning technology utilizes LiDAR and camera images to achieve meter level accuracy without the need for any installation or infrastructure in a building. With the COVID era causing classrooms to become virtual, it is now more important than ever to instill independence and confidence in students to navigate through their daily lives. Goals: At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to: Describe how to teach students to gather information about the travel environment, including street names, intersections, points of interest, and city information using GoodMaps Explore. Learn from a 20+ year accessible wayfinding blind professional how indoor navigation has evolved from GPS and beacon based systems to a new camera based positioning technology. Describe how students can navigate independently using GoodMaps Explore during a time when social distancing is required. Watch the recorded session
GoodMaps presents their new technology from multiple perspectives Watch the video from the American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meeting displaying GoodMaps new technology. During the session GoodMaps also discusses the new collaboration between Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Fantasmo. Read GoodMaps Explore feedback from a student, orientation and mobility teacher, and a professional blind user. Taylor Cox “Using GoodMaps Explore for the first time was so crazy. I walked around my neighborhood and I notice things that my mom and dad didn't notice. I saw the street names that I was walking on and I knew which Cardinal direction I was facing. It was really an awesome eye opener for me.” I use GoodMaps Explore a lot when I am riding in the car. I was driving to Hobby Lobby with my mom and sister and we pull up to Hobby Lobby and there was a Chick-fil-A right next to it. I wasn't super familiar with the area, but I was like wait there's my favorite restaurant and I didn't know. My mom mentioned, “How did you not know?” and I was like you never you never told me. Usually when people are driving, they don’t notice the restaurants around them. They just paying attention to the road and they assumed you knew what is in the area. Another thing that I love about this app is the Cardinal directions. I have been working with my mobility specialist on trying to figure out where I am facing. We've used everything from the sun to the compass on my iPhone but Explore just happened to have the pretty package of street names, POIs, and cardinal directions. I've used Explore to enhance my mobility skills which doesn't take away from the mobility specialist but opens your eyes in a new way, so have fun with it! Jamie Murdy Overall I have found it to be intuitive and easy to use. As Taylor mentioned, she could pick it up and get immediate information from her environment without a lot of training. Most of my students, and any kid in general, is good at their phone. So, it's nice that it's on a platform that they are used and able to use. A few days ago, I had one of my middle school students, and I said, “OK your homework is to download this app and explore it and tomorrow I am going to ask you what you learned about your neighborhood.” I didn't tell her how to use the app at all. The next day, I said “OK tell me tell me what you learned.” Her first response was, “It was very easy to use, there's tutorials for each time you go to a new section of the app it tells you how to use it.” Then she started telling me all about her neighborhood. She told me street names that she didn't know and that there is a bus stop a half a mile from her house. She said “When I'm old enough to travel independently, I want to learn where the bus stop is and take the bus.” She went on to tell me that her dad had called and told her, “I'm passing this location I'll be home soon.” So, she plugged that point of interest into her app and the app told her he was four miles away. She was able to generalize from the app that, “Oh my dad will be home in about 5 minutes.” She was able to collect all this information from the comfort of her house literally with no instruction. As a TBI I talk about building mental maps and I feel like she was able to do that and learn about her environment quickly with Explore. Working with GPS for so long, users have told me that their favorite feature is Look around mode. This mode gives the ability to get information automatically, on your own, without relying on a sighted person to assume that you already know about it or are interested in it. For example, an excited child at a young age is looking out the window and saying, “Oh look we're passing McDonald's or let's go to chuckie cheese, I see the mouse.” They are able to learn about their environment by doing this and that is what Lookaround provides for someone who is visually impaired. What is the role as a teacher, parent or even an OEM when teaching GPS? As you’ve seen from my example and with Taylor, it doesn't always take a ton of teaching. We don't need to be experts with the technology, for us it's helping our students learn how to interpret the information the GPS is giving them and apply it to their environment. and being able to generalize skills to travel independently. Explore is another tool that we can add to our toolbox. The more we provide our students, the better off they are going to be as far as their independence in building mental maps. Bob Sweetman I've been using GoodMaps for on my iPhone for about two months now and one nice thing about it being on the iPhone is you always have it with you. I like to take walks in the morning with my guide dog and we usually walk a mile or two and GoodMaps gives me the information I need on my walk. For example, it gives the street I'm on, my direction of travel, upcoming intersections, and nearby points of interest. It reads the POIs off in a way that's not distracting, and it doesn't say too many of them. You can click and get more, for example, I should be at a strip mall, but it gives you an idea of where you and what's around which is incredible. It also helps in learning routes. It gives confirmation that you're on the correct route so that you can focus on what's happening in terms of traffic or what your Guide Dog is doing. Whether you're in a vehicle or traveling it gives you location literacy without having to work hard to find it. Virtual exploration is awesome! For example, I was able to look around the American Printing House for the Blind building and understand how it is laid out and get directions to different points inside the building. I think the aspect of having indoor and outdoor navigation is going to be fantastic. I have used the focus Braille display and the aftershocks headset while walking with GPS. When you're using a device like that you don't even have to have your phone out. It can just be on your belt. You can run the entire app from the Braille display which is really quite nice. The ability to see the street names and the business names is helpful to know how things are spelled. I found GoodMaps very easy to learn and the tutorials in the more app are excellent. It becomes a matter of practice and I would tell anyone trying to get comfortable with GPS, just practice with it every day and pretty soon it will be natural. Read about the CNIB & GoodMaps partnership here!
A revolutionary accessible indoor navigation initiative is taking place in the Huntington, West Virginia right now. The American Printing House for the Blind and GoodMaps are partnering to create accessible maps for people who are blind or visually impaired in Huntington, West Virginia. The initiative began July 13 and seeks to bring visual aids to the visually impaired within a series of buildings in Huntington, allowing these people to be more independent and confident within the space. The buildings being mapped by the initiative are the Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind, the Phil Cline YMCA Center and the downtown Cabell County Public Library. These buildings were decided upon by a grant given to the American Printing House by the Teubert Charitable Trust, which lasts one year in order to get the project started. The resulting app, developed by GoodMaps, will allow users to get step-by-step directions and access to points of interest in an indoor space.