Read original article on the APH Blog GoodMaps is making everyday travel more accessible. Born as a spin-off of the work APH started with Nearby Explorer, GoodMaps has been hard at work creating and implementing their state-of-the-art mapping techniques, including mobile LiDAR scanners and Camera-based Positioning System (CPS) for incredibly accurate maps. Not only has this simplified the mapping process for venues, but it also makes the free GoodMaps Explore app fast, easy, and effective for travelers. Want to learn more about what makes GoodMaps tick? Read our introduction blog, and get to know the GoodMaps advantage: 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; to be more secure for the venues that can control levels of information access. Now that you’re familiar with GoodMaps, let’s talk about all the exciting plans they have for 2021! APH Smart Cities Expanding on a previous APH initiative to make our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky an accessible city, GoodMaps is working with local venues to switch from the infrastructure-heavy beacons of the past, to their new and more accurate mapping system. Building on the great relationships APH has maintained in the community, GoodMaps is already transitioning previous legacy buildings that used the old Indoor Explorer technology to this new accessible tech. The goal of the APH Smart Cities initiative is to continue expanding the accessibility and safety of indoor spaces in the Louisville area with the mission to bring on more buildings so we can become a fully inclusive community for people who are blind or visually impaired. So far, the following buildings have committed to this technology transition: Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) Louisville Science Center Floyd County Library Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts (KMAC) Actor’s Theatre of Louisville LouieLab (a civic innovation hub and coworking space) Louisville Metro Hall Speed Art Museum Muhammad Ali Center University of Louisville Student Activities Center With many more to come! GoodMaps Explore New Release Since our last check in, GoodMaps released a new version of their GoodMaps Explore app on both iOS and Android platforms. The new release contains improvements to indoor directions, outdoor to indoor transitions, and indoor location notifications. The full release notes can be found here: GoodMaps Explore What’s New. Plus, they introduced a great new audio tutorial featuring GoodMaps Chief Evangelist Mike May and J.J. Meddaugh from A.T. Guys! The audio tutorial is great for users who want to learn about the Explore app, covering both indoor and outdoor use. It’s even broken into chapters, so busy travelers who want to learn about one specific feature can do so quickly. Take a listen. Going Places We can’t give you any details yet, but GoodMaps is on the move. The team is hitting the road to expand its impact across the country and beyond! Stay tuned for updates as the year goes on.
GoodMaps is happy to be collaborating with Accessibility.com. They are on a mission to create objective and trustworthy information and resources to become a catalyst for equal access to the physical and digital worlds. Their website covers everything from Digital to Physical Accessibility as well as providing background info on disabilities and even influential lawsuits. Recently, GoodMaps was featured in their blog to highlight the benefits of creating accessible indoor spaces. The article, "Is Lack of Information Access Getting Between You and Your Customers?" discusses what business owners have to gain by mapping their building and implementing indoor navigation.
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 email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 502-845-3113 www.goodmaps.com
Have you ever stopped to wonder how a person navigates when they cannot readily see to read signs, access a map or easily perceive directions? As a blind person, I often overhear comments from passersby as to how “wonderful” and “amazing” it is that I can “get about” on my own. Often the response from within the conversation reflecting on just how “great It is, what those dogs can do”, referring to my Guide Dog. It’s of course true that Guide Dogs and canes, as an aspect to good Orientation and Mobility (O&M) skills, certainly help in making navigation possible. Never the less, it often feels that public perception is that a cane user has “enough” residual sight to manage to navigate the World around them much as a sighted person might, and, that Guide Dog users are totally blind, with the dog somehow ordained with mystical capabilities facilitating the free movement of the handler “anywhere they wish to go”. Both scenarios are popular, yet incorrect, presumptions. Whether or not a person opts for the Inanimate approach provided through the use of a cane, or, the sometimes more proactive support of a Guide Dog; both solutions are a partnership. With the principal operating and decision making function being the human within the equation. Persons within the sight loss community are required to devote huge portions of mental energy towards navigating; covering everything from a grasp of the route being undertaken, through to processing sensory landmarks upon that route. Sounds, smells, tactile indicators under foot and more besides goes into getting us where we wish to be. Even at that point, it’s still very much a restriction based upon knowledge, awareness and familiarity. Over the past decades technology has provided a variety of solutions to aid in navigating the outside environment. Predominantly utilising GPS to support in following a route, much as a driver does within a vehicle, GPS solutions can help an individual to get close to a building. What then though, most persons experiencing sight loss either have a complex and high functioning “mental map” of an environment, which assists in locating familiar points within a venue, but, this allows little to no scope for incidental discovery, and, very little opportunity for venturing outside of ones comfort zone. When reflecting on the mental concentration required to operate in this fashion, and, the effort to which goes into independently being out, its little surprise that many persons from the sight loss community reflect that the experience is draining, stressful and can often lead to anxiety and other pressures. Newly developed cloud technologies aim to remove this barrier and help those to whom cannot easily access signage, maps and other directional queues to move freely within indoor environments. Benefiting the community in a myriad of ways; providing opportunity to explore, readily identify our surroundings, access shops, restaurants and many other venues to which previously may have been invisible, or, overtly complex to access. With the mental burden alleviated to an extent, the opportunity for incidental discovery, to browse, shop and spend time and our money in more ways not only makes good business sense, it also demonstrates a venues approach towards meeting its obligations of equality and access for all. Approaching an organisations responsibilities, whether equality based or more generically under the remit of Access For All; being able to freely, readily and easily access your premises benefits visitors, customers, employees and a range of individuals besides. The GoodMaps approach has found its routes in facilitating the sight loss community, however, envisages supporting a more diverse pan-disability audience, including persons needing step free access, locating emergency exits and other emergency facilities. The journey and evolution of this technology has only just began. The GoodMaps solution, which requires no complex network of bluetooth beacons to be installed, or, other hardware infrastructure throughout a venue to be maintained, provides an effective method for an individual to freely move around any conceivable space (both indoors and outside); independently, with confidence, assuredness and an enhanced feeling of liberation. Far beyond locating your venue, GoodMaps empowers the discovery of everything to which you have to offer; providing enhanced equality, comfort and independence whilst shopping, dining, at work, attending a performance - the opportunities derived from mapping your venue are endless.
GoodMaps, experts and innovators in accessible navigation and wayfinding, partners with the CNIB Foundation, Canada’s largest non-profit serving people with sight loss. GoodMaps Explore, unveiled earlier this month, is an accessible wayfinding app designed primarily for people who are blind or partially sighted. Drawing upon GoodMaps’ state-of-the-art digital maps, the app uses audio instructions to communicate routing and critical spatial information as users move through indoor or outdoor environments. quote “From the moment we began conversations with CNIB, it was clear that we shared a vision for drastically increasing the footprint of accessible buildings and overcoming the historical hurdles of accessible navigation,” says Jose Gaztambide, Founder and CEO of GoodMaps. “CNIB believes, as we do, in leveraging the latest technology to offer an extraordinary navigation and wayfinding experience for clients.” In the past, indoor navigation for people with sight loss has often been imprecise and has typically relied on expensive, burdensome infrastructure. But GoodMaps Explore starts with laser mapping of the environment, then draws upon camera-based positioning (CPS), a breakthrough technology that utilizes sensors in a device’s camera to achieve superior accuracy with minimal hardware. quote “We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with GoodMaps,” says Shane Silver, Vice President of Social Enterprises for the CNIB Foundation. “This innovation represents a significant breakthrough in accessible indoor navigation and accuracy. The introduction of GoodMaps across the country will help ensure that Canadians with sight loss have greater access to more buildings and venues than ever before.” About Goodmaps Founded in 2019 and an affiliate of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), GoodMaps (formerly Access Explorer) is a Louisville-based social enterprise dedicated to making buildings more accessible, safe, and productive through the use of digital indoor maps. For more information, go to the GoodMaps Website or Contact Us. About CNIB The CNIB Foundation is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower Canadians impacted by blindness to live their dreams while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners in communities across Canada. For more information, please contact: Alison Byczok, Director, Marketing and Communications 416-272-0464 | email@example.com