GoodMaps' and APH's Huntington mapping initiative featured on VisionAware (pasted below) About Huntington Huntington, WV is a small town in Appalachia, surrounded by individuals and families who live in rural and mountain counties. Home to only 46,500 residents, Huntington is comprised of a small, downtown area surrounded by a larger suburban and rural population, and as of the most recent census, nearly 25% of its population lives below the poverty line. As you may imagine, and can certainly understand, people who are blind or visually impaired living in Huntington, and other rural towns like it, often encounter unique and significant challenges to independent living. These challenges can include access to transportation, access to education, access to employment, and access to the information and technologies that make them possible. Rural communities often have smaller numbers of resources, smaller budgets, and smaller numbers of people trained to teach, train, guide, motivate, and inspire people, of all ages, who are blind or visually impaired along an independent life journey. Unfortunately, all of this often results in lower expectations; possibly leading to lives not as fully lived. For example, if you are a blind person, parent, or family member of a blind young person and living in a rural community; you may have never known a successfully employed blind person. Therefore, you may have never believed successful employment is possible for yourself or your child. Similarly, if you do not know access technology even exists, or what it can do, it is hard to imagine how you could excel in college or compete in today’s workforce. Likewise, blindness professionals and teachers of children with visual impairments (TVIs) in rural areas often do not have the resources to adequately support their students or their own continuing education. As a result, they, too, can be at a significant disadvantage when working to serve their clients or students. As the world continues to live through the COVID-19 pandemic, APH understands there has never been a more critical time to ensure people with visual impairments are able to learn to use mainstream and access technologies to live independently and navigate indoor and outdoor spaces. Individuals with vision loss will, without question, need to rely more heavily on personal O&M skills and the use of technologies that provide support without the assistance of another individual. Imagine, for a moment, you were unable to do your own grocery shopping, your own banking, and complete your daily essential household tasks because of your limited sight. Imagine how you would feel if, due to the pandemic, no one could safely come to assist you with these tasks. Imagine how isolated and vulnerable you may feel if you could not get the essential household product’s, medicine, or food you need. Now imagine how you would feel if you could. APH Huntington Launched APH sincerely believes it has the ability to infuse Huntington’s local blindness community with the resources it needs to begin changing that trajectory and sowing seeds of prosperity for local residents, of all ages, who are visually impaired. APH Huntington was born in order to help address these issues APH Huntington is the West Virginia location of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH, with headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.) In July 2020, with a grant from the Huntington-based James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust, APH Huntington launched with one employee and no physical location. APH initially chose to serve the City of Huntington as it has much in common with Louisville, but on a much smaller, more manageable scale. The downtown area is flat and easily walkable. It is home to many retail and restaurant establishments, as well as attractions that are of interest to residents and visitors alike. It is home to Marshall University, which provides a student population that engages with residents, and a nationally recognized College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, with which we seek to partner. Even though this is a more rural community of less than 50,000 residents, Huntington has a decades-long reputation as a city that is working to ensure a level playing field for people with vision loss, and a strong reputation for community organizing and openness to all. Spearheading the work of APH Huntington is Lee Huffman, a West Virginia native and Marshall University graduate. Lee, APH Huntington’s Accessible Community Development Strategist, worked for more than 15 years at the American Foundation for the Blind’s Huntington location, and joined APH Huntington when it launched this past summer. The GoodMaps Accessible Indoor Navigation System At that time, APH had come to Huntington to introduce its first initiative to visually impaired residents: the GoodMaps accessible indoor navigation system, a revolutionary mapping platform using LiDAR technology to develop accurate and detailed digital maps. GoodMaps Explore, GoodMaps’ free, downloadable app utilizes camera-based positioning, which uses geo-referenced images to determine a user’s position. Speech output from the GoodMaps Explore smartphone app then enables users who are blind or low vision (or sighted persons) to more independently navigate unfamiliar indoor spaces. As GoodMaps Explore users walk through an indoor space, they receive step-by-step, turn-by-turn walking directions, directing them to a chosen point within a building. For example, directions to a specific office in a building or classroom within a school. Generous funding from the Teubert Trust enabled GoodMaps to digitally map four venues in the downtown Huntington area: Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind; Cabell County Public Library; Phil Cline Center of the Huntington YMCA; and the Brad D. Smith Business Incubator. With all of these venues newly equipped with GoodMaps’ innovative camera-based positioning technology, APH Huntington and GoodMaps staff have provided three indoor navigation trainings to blind and visually impaired members in the community. APH Huntington is thrilled to be collaborating with GoodMaps for its inaugural initiative. Of course, the APH Huntington team is working in partnership with other businesses and peer nonprofits as well, including a close collaboration with the Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind. Local residents were excited by this technology, as the entire concept of using a smartphone to navigate inside a building was completely unheard of. For some, this ignited a notable spark in their curiosity and the desire to learn more about technology and all the possibilities it holds, which is the exact response we intended. Providing information, inspiring curiosity, and encouraging the adoption of a more independent mindset for persons of all ages with vision loss. In the relatively short time APH Huntington has been active in the community, we have determined that in large part, blind and visually impaired local residents are not receiving the information, technologies, and resources they need to be as empowered, employed, and independent as they could be. We are also realizing blindness professionals and TVIs in the area may not be receiving the information they need as well. Most are not able to attend national blindness or access technology conferences, where the latest technologies and best practice teachings are shared. Unfortunately, this is not unique to Huntington; this is often the case in rural, more traditionally underserved areas. We sincerely believe APH has the ability to infuse the local blindness community with the resources it needs to begin changing that trajectory and sowing seeds of prosperity for local residents of all ages, who are visually impaired. We also hope other large organizations will be inspired to reach out to other underserved blind and visually impaired communities to help raise awareness and increase the needed resources to positively affect the lives of adults, transition-age youth, and children. As APH Huntington’s work moves forward, its intention is to provide hands-on trainings, workshops, discussions, and services throughout the community for people who are blind or visually impaired and the professionals who serve them. These initiatives will address many Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) areas including: access technology; daily living skills such as personal money management; self-reliance, and self-advocacy. Additionally, we have initiatives to address national policy and its impact on everyday life; the portrayal of people who are blind or visually impaired in the media; improving independent living skills; and more. These trainings are just the beginning of what we hope to offer. Lee Huffman, APH Accessible Community Strategist, Shares His Thoughts: “I am excited to bring the many resources of APH to this rural community. In smaller towns like Huntington, WV, it is often very challenging to provide blind and visually impaired residents with the information, services, and resources needed to enable them to be independent and fully integrated into the community. Our goal is to help fill that gap while encouraging a more informed, inclusive community culture. Thus far, Huntington has hospitably welcomed APH Huntington into its community and expressed great interest in the sustainability and growth of our work. We have heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from civic and business leaders, healthcare professionals, teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs,) higher education faculty, and others. Interest in our work has also been expressed by local and state elected officials, as well as by technology startups who are drawn to Huntington for its strong sense of community and business support systems. APH Huntington continues to expand its reach and enhance its impact throughout Huntington, with anticipated growth in the coming year. In November 2020, we were fortunate to earn a workspace within the Marshall University Brad D. Smith Business Incubator. We are honored to work in such close proximity with entrepreneurs, innovators, and respected Marshall University faculty. The accessible indoor navigation initiative with GoodMaps has been APH Huntington’s first foray into introducing APH’s education, technology, and independent living initiatives to Huntington. In 2021, APH Huntington plans to offer several notable occasions for engagement among members of the community – from an Impactful Living Conference, to a special speaker series to include an APH Arts & Humanities event in Huntington. It is our hope our work will continue to educate, inspire, and elevate the community of blind and visually impaired people throughout the area.” Many Thanks for the Teubert Trust “APH is deeply grateful for the generosity of the Teubert Trust, which enabled us to join the Huntington community. The Trust also kindly introduced us to many prospective partners and provided opportunities for us to share our mission with others,” said Cathy Jenkins, APH Executive Director of Development, who oversees the APH Huntington program. “We are confident the program will be a success for years to come in Huntington.”
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
GoodMaps is proud to announce the release of GoodMaps Explore for iOS, with an Android version coming soon. 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, and providing the public with a complete package of maps with an app to actually use them. José Gaztambide, Founder and CEO of GoodMaps, reflects, “We are thrilled to release this app and find from its early reviews such a positive response, as we are mindful of all the work that’s come before us. From the start, we have been determined to truly listen to people who are blind or visually impaired and create technology that would offer them, and all of us, the ability to navigate space better than ever before.” “As an active blind traveler and technologist, I have been working for 25 years with like-minded colleagues toward the goal of free ubiquitous accessible navigation for all,” reflects Mike May, Chief Evangelist at GoodMaps. “Thousands of users and competitive products have contributed to the Explore app, which is a major step along the road to independence. I can’t wait for the next version and more mapped indoor spaces as GoodMaps continues to improve accessible navigation for everyone including navigating in our new physical distancing environment”. Superior Accuracy with Simple Infrastructure Whereas indoor navigation technology in the past has been inaccurate and relied on expensive, burdensome infrastructure, GoodMaps Explore draws upon camera-based positioning (CPS). CPS utilizes sensors and a device’s camera to achieve superior accuracy, with average accuracy of 1.5 meters (~5 feet) or less – all through minimal hardware to install and maintain. “For years, our field has been experimenting with wayfinding solutions that rely on Bluetooth beacons,” says Craig Meador, President of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH. “The reality is that the use of beacons was limited. Users experienced poor accuracy, interference issues, and often had to rely on other sources to navigate the final 15 feet. With GoodMaps’ breakthrough, we’re able to solve these issues and drastically improve the reliability of accessible navigation.” The key to this advancement is GoodMaps’ revolutionary indoor positioning system, which combines Augmented Reality and sensors on a device with a new system developed by Fantasmo, a GoodMaps partner. This system delivers accurate indoor location without the use of cumbersome beacons or other similar hardware. The result is a trusted and reliable wayfinding experience for people who are blind, with virtually no infrastructure to install and maintain. Significant Gains in Efficiency GoodMaps is powered by its new LiDAR-based mapping platform, GoodMaps Studio. The company creates maps by using mobile LiDAR scanners, which quickly produce digital representations of the space. “LiDAR scanners emit thousands of pulses of laser light every second,” explains Ed Scott, CTO of GoodMaps. “We are able to use those pulses to measure distance and create a digital representation of the space. This has allowed us to drastically reduce the time it takes to create a map of the space, which has been a major barrier to indoor mapping. We can map a building in an hour that required multiple days in old approaches.” “This major gain in efficiency, and a focus on multiple uses for this technology, means the field can finally take indoor navigation to scale, a goal that the market has long made elusive for people who are blind or visually impaired,” remarks Gaztambide. Anne Durham, Chief Officer of Innovation and Strategy at APH, comments “We have known for years that accessible indoor navigation would not be possible without accurate maps of indoor locations. With these gains in efficiency, we feel that the time to map the largest unmapped territory in the world – the indoors – is now at hand.” New, Secure Control GoodMaps’ technology offers building owners the ability to decide who sees what parts of their building – a key security feature lacking to date in the field, preventing others’ technology from being scaled. “We heard from building managers that data security was imperative to usability. No one wants their data falling into the wrong hands,” says Gaztambide. “That is why GoodMaps is built on layers of role-based permissions. What your guests, your engineers, and your staff see are all different, manageable, and customizable.” A Complete Package While some indoor navigation companies offer apps but no maps, and others offer maps but no apps, GoodMaps offers both – maps with apps. This provides a seamless, high-quality package that gets users where they want to go unlike any other technology. “We know that maps are a means to an end, not the end itself,” remarks Gaztambide. “Explore is an important step in bringing those maps to life. We are excited to continue developing tools that fully leverage our mapping technology.” GoodMaps Explore is currently available on the Apple App Store and will be available on Android devices later this year. 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.