Video: Mapping tech makes uni more accessible for people with vision impairments or reduced mobility
A US collaboration is making a university campus more accessible through high-quality indoor wayfinding technology to make navigation much easier for people who are blind or low vision, mobility impaired, and deaf or hard of hearing.
The mapping technology speaks prompts aloud to users, as well as provides written information to users, about their selected route. It also gives them information about accessible routes and potential hazards to avoid, so that the university students can safely and confidently navigate the campus.
GoodMaps, which specialises in mapping technology to make indoor spaces more accessible and safer, is working with global technology firm Intel to create an advanced indoor wayfinding solution for everyone.
Their long-term goal is to create powerful multipurpose maps for venue owners, so that people can safely and effectively navigate indoor spaces, resulting in greater independence when travelling.
Over the past few months, GoodMaps and Portland State University have worked together to implement the GoodMaps system in the Smith Student Union. The vision is to expand the accessibility of campus buildings and improve the student experience, so that people with disabilities or reduced mobility can navigate the campus easily, confidently and safely.
Students who have had remote education due to the pandemic would also benefit from GoodMaps technology, who may not have had the opportunity to visit the campus but want to see what it looks like ahead of their first time on campus.
In addition, the technology provides an invaluable resource for people with vision impairments, as it announces where the user is in relation to other objects, even when they are sitting down. For example, the software tells users that there are stairs five feet away from them. This improves safety and navigation for the user, as it helps avoid potential hazards and obstacles, and reassures the individual where they are.
GoodMaps technology can also advise users about step-free routes, which would be particularly useful for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility.
See the mapping technology in action in the video below: