GoodMaps Presents at APH Annual Meeting

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!