Sendero GPS User Stories

Sendero has been collecting user stories since the release of Sendero GPS in 2001.

Wow, I must say I am very impressed with Sendero GPS, so many cool features and it really has expanded my knowledge of my local area and travelling in general. Thanks guys.


Since last evening I've been dealing with a family emergency and have found my GPS points of interest a necessity. Due to a family emergency, I did not go to teach today and went to be with a family member in a hospital. This where GPS was so important. I selected from the points of interest, "Medical services." Under this category was "Polyclinic". I set the radius up to 35 miles and received a listing of all the hospitals. I located the hospital, address and phone. I was able to get driving directions and prior to this called the hospital since the hospital that I selected has the address and phone. I called to let the hospital staff know that I was coming to visit a family member. What liberty to find such vital information, contact a hospital on my own without using directory assistance and get directions to the hospital and driving directions back to my house. Thanks for inventing GPS for the blind.


So at 11:51 a.m., a customer makes a really good suggestion regarding a change in the speech/braille response that makes bus stop info easier to follow. And at 3:30 p.m., Charles reports that it is implemented. Do y'all realize that is amazing? This GPS stuff doesn't just happen. It shows that a) we're all part of the team because Sendero really does respond to our input, and b) Charles La Pierre never sleeps.


I've often said to people that if I ever had a business of my own, I would want to run it like Sendero. They run their business the way a business should be run.


I sat outside this afternoon and set up my unit to get satellite signals and set the GPS to pedestrian mode. I selected one POI category shopping/services and selected a local grocery store. I was given directions from my home to the grocery store. The directions included the approaching intersection and the necessary turn I needed to make. I feel so liberated with the ability to generate a route and physically be able to follow the instructions when using a cane. The fact that I don't have to think about the correct turn and also know what intersection I'm approaching is amazing. I am really motivated to walk to this grocery store and back home. I always have trouble with remembering what turn to make when at a street intersection. I've used a braille compass to know in what direction I am heading and to determine the correct turn to make when needing to make a turn. Now besides using my compass for directions I can also use my GPS.


Already put the equipment through it's paces yesterday for nearly 15 hours on a Seattle trip. The GPS with Braille Sense worked perfectly. Just want to let you and all Sendero staff know how valuable this technology is for me. It is nothing short of fantastic. Thanks much to each of you there at Sendero.

Was taking a walk and suddenly the receiver I use with Sense Nav ran out of juice. And, of course, I was about a mile plus from home.

I decided what better time to see what the GPS on my cell phone does than the present and since I didn't want to fool with Navigon or Tomtom, I turned on Sendero's lookaround.

Wow! It continually told me exactly where I was, all I wanted at that point were the cross streets and I was home within about 15 minutes.

Thank you so much, Mike and Charles it kind of reminded me of the GPS 1 on the Braille Note those few years ago.


Neat Application for Hiking!

Yesterday morning, Sue and I left Glacier Point at 10:30 in Yosemite for an 8 mile hike to Curry Village in Yosemite Valley. I had pressed Chord-Q to record a replay file. For route management, I had used chord-H, R, M, to turn on Force Sequential Route Following, since this works best in the mountains on a trail with switchbacks. About 1.3 miles into the hike, we missed a sign and continued about 3.5 miles until the route ended in a forest, where Sue got a really good picture of a bear. At this point, I pressed Q-chord to stop recording and turned off the Apex to save battery in case we needed to give Lat Lon coordinates later. We started backtracking.

After a couple of miles, we were not sure if we were on the correct trail, and we were looking at a long climb to get back to the point. So, I pressed H-chord R, then F to create a route from the replay file and then pressed R R to reverse the route until the destination was pointing at our starting point. This gave us turn-by-turn instructions the rest of the way back. Knowing that we were going the right direction was very encouraging, since it involved about a 1,500 foot climb. We then hitched a ride for the 30 miles back from the store, and got back home by 7:00 PM.


I'm loving my new Sendero product running on the Apex. Whether in virtual or GPS mode, the software makes it a pleasure to use. I love the information that is available at my fingertips (literally) whenever I am out walking or traveling. The occasional announcements of passing POIs and the change of street announcements makes it easy for me to walk around. The QT version of the Apex allows me one keystroke commands for the common functions whenever I need that information on the fly like address or distance to the nearest cross street. I liken the difference between the jaws cursor and the pc cursor on my screen reader on the PC. One can move around while the other is software controlled.

I wanted to thank the developers publicly for this software. I don't have any regrets in purchasing it. KeySoft 9.1 has a couple of bugs which causes the Sendero thing to crash, but I know that Humanware is working on the issue. Software always has problems when new but I am in it for the long term and I know that most of the initial bugs in the VoiceNote will be resolved.

What's really good about this company is that we users have access to people like Charles and Mike who take time out of their schedules to reply to our concerns and that alone is worth every penny.

What would be a cool product line for Sendero is to add GPS capability to the PC version so that we can use Sendero on our notebooks while in a vehicle with the power of the PC at our command. Well, enough on this and I know it is kind of off topic but the only way to say what I was feeling publicly.


Thank you so much for Sendero GPS Look Around for the iPhone. Today, I got on a bus without auto announce. Although I asked, the driver failed to call my stop and we passed it. When I got off the bus, I immediately turned on the Sendero Look Around application and quickly figured out where I was. Thank you! This application is a life saver. I gave my Wife my Mobile Geo application and she uses it, especially on transportation where stops are not announced.


Happy New Year to all of you. We were in California for Christmas and New Year's. Our daughter, Jessica, now lives in West Hollywood working at the Fendey store at Beverly Center. Her college degree from Miami International University of Art and Design is in Fashion Merchandising. We sure appreciated your warmer weather. We missed the 20 inch snowstorm by a day.

I am appreciating my Sendero GPS with the high snowbanks at the corners. Friday I left home plenty early to walk to the train and through clammering over a snowbank at the corner got off track. Therefore, even when I don't carry my Braillenote Apex GPS with me always in my purse, I put my IPhone in my pocket with no time out, so I can stick my hand in my pocket and check for a cross street.

Krystal is a solid worker in the snow. The next snowstorm hits tomorrow. I guess that's the kind of winter we are in for her in New Jersey tthis year.

Take care.


Hi All,

I've just come back from a fantastic trip to Venice, and like Rich Irwin I was using the Apex with the Oakley ROKR sunglasses making Sendero an absolute joy. It was working over time, so on the flight over for example it was fun to hear that we were passing the Eifel Tower a half a mile on our left, following, as ever, in Mike's remarkable POI footsteps, then over Alsace into Germany, through Switzerland with its mountain peaks, and across northern Italy where the Italy map kicked in to tell me about more wide-ranging POIS.

I could write way too much about Venice itself but it's a very special place for a blind person to visit because there are absolutely no cars anywhere in the city. You walk around through an amazing number of narrow streets, squares and alleyways, crossing sea canals over some of the 403 bridges (smile). You travel everywhere by different types of boat, including the gondola of course, water-buses and the airport boat which reached an amazing 33 MPH. so Sendero and the POIs enhance the travel experience even more than usual.

Now here are my map queries, which may or may not relate to Rich's questions:

I had made sure to copy all files into the maps folder, but I could not create any routes at all; neither pedestrian nor vehicle. I tried this many many times and it would say "Creating pedestrian route ... could not create pedestrian route". This was true for any journey, no matter how short or long. We were able to find places by using the 'getting warmer method' and that worked really well, but definitely no actual routes, so worth looking into please?

Secondly, there's something really strange about the street naming on the Italy maps. Every single street is suffixed by the country code, then the neighbourhood, and then the country code again, which made announcements incredibly verbose, for example, just walking along, any intersection announcement would go like this: On Calle de Le Ostreghe:ITA, Sestriere San Marco:ITA. Calle De Le Ostreghe:ITA, Sestiere San Marco:ITA, ahead and Ponte De Le Ostreghe:ITA, Sestiere San Marco:ITA, behind.

That was only a two way, as I didn't have the courage to write a four way, but it was a real problem and I'm willing to bet you didn't have any beta testers in Venice, or even Italy, as other places at least have the :ITA suffix. What can be going on here?

Thirdly, if you've managed to read this far: when flying over countries for which you don't have the map, it's really great to hear towns as you pass over them, and you can now check POI details to find which country you are over, which wasn't possible in some previous versions. However, I am curious about the country codes and how to find the more obscure ones. France is Fra. Germany is DEU for Deutschland, Italy is ITA, but Switzerland is CHE, which had me puzzled for a while. I'm guessing at Confederation Helvetica or some such thing, but where do these codes come from and can we look them up?

Oh and last but not least, I actually managed to find some places that Mike hasn't been to, and shall of course add them to the collective user POIs.

A thousand thanks as ever for such a terrific product.



Hi all

I have just returned from a trip to southern Germany. I took my Apex with Sendero loaded and it made quite a difference to my enjoyment of the holiday. We were staying at Altoting (the 'o' is accented but I can't find out how to do this on this keyboard). Most days we went for trips to various places like Salzburg. I took the GPS on the coach and was able to follow where we were going and get a lot of information about the towns we passed through. It is surprising how many places have English names which are quite different from the name they have in German. The driver was quite amused when I accused her of speeding - well over 100 KPH is speeding in my book. I found it a little strange having all the place names and POIs coming up in German but their classifications were, of course, in English. This actually helped me quite a lot as my knowledge of german was negligible before we went and now it is almost negligible (some improvement there I think). We ended the holiday at Oberammegau for the Passion Play. The town is well into the german Alps so following our climb into the mountains with the altitude feature was interesting.

One advantage of having a machine like the Apex with me was that I was able to get hold of an ?English translation of the Passion Play and although I could not read it fast enough to keep up with the onstage action I was at least able to keep track of what was going on. It was a good thing that the story of the play is well known otherwise I could have been completely sunk. The music was wonderful!


My GPS was an integral part of my travels to New York City last Wednesday. I landed at Newark airport and took a taxi into the city to meet friends for a play. The flight was a little late but the real problem was the traffic as we approached the Lincoln tunnel.

My plan was to drop my bags at one friends house at east 87th and Lex. Then I would go from there to the playhouse about 3 miles down town at Bowery and 4th.

We hit the tunnel about 6 PM and the play started at 7. Clearly I wouldn't make it in time. So, I entered the Public theater as my virtual location and my friends apartment as my destination. It was much closer to the theater than her apartment. I decided I should go straight to the theater. The question was then what to do with my bags.

I switched to virtual mode at the theater and did a search for nearby hotels. I found one and then called the theater to ask if they thought it was a decent size hotel. I wanted to make sure they would be likely to take my bags as I wouldn't have any time for mistakes.

I directed the driver to the hotel. He didn't see it but I knew it was close by so I told him to pull over and I bailed out of the cab. It was just 15 minutes to 7 and I didn't have time to have him search around.

I asked some pedestrians and found the hotel. It had a secondary name which was more prominent than the name I was looking for, Cooper Square Hotel.

Lucky enough, they took my bags and I hot footed it to the theater, just 2 blocks away. I arrived at the same time as one friend. The other had to work and couldn't make it.

I felt pretty happy that I made my event on time despite slow traffic and a mediocre taxi driver.

After the play, I retrieved my bag and got the door man to flag a taxi for me. It took him 20 minutes. I finally arrived at my friends at 11 PM, nearly 22 hours since I got up that morning in California.

Great play by the way. If you listen to NPR, you may have heard it reviewed which is where I got the idea. Bloody, Bloody, Andrew Jackson. Kind of a 19th century history lesson with a punk rock presentation.


Here's an idea I hadn't thought of. (It's a brilliant idea, so you'll know right away that it wasn't mine.) I'm working with a woman who sells Avon products, plus some crafty stuff that she makes. She wants to expand her customer base and doesn't feel comfortable going to private homes, door to door. Selling her wares in shops or offices with more than one employee offers the opportunity to have several contacts in one stop. She lives in an area with many such prospective businesses within walking distance. So she uses her Sendero GPS to find places to make sales calls, and presumably to avoid going into establishments where sales would be less likely (perhaps auto parts stores, etc.) Pretty clever, don't you think?

I work with the Florida Sendero distributor and have to do exactly what you described in your message. I have to visit people in their homes and place of employment to do training, assessments and support. I also travel frequently to trade shows and conferences.

You didn't identify any of her other needs but I will say that I use Sendero's GPS solutions everytime I travel. It gets me from point a to point b, whether I'm in a car with a taxi driver or walking to a place I've never been. Maybe I'm staying in a hotel and want to know what restaurants are near by instead of having to order out and being stuck in my room.

The Sendero products allow me to enter an address and receive directions customized to aid a blind person, I can select the place via millions of points of interest and I can save positions as my own user points of interest to select in the future.

The reason I ask about her other needs on the job is because if she knows Braille, there is the new BrailleNote Apex that will run Sendero's GPS. This will give her a full word processor, internet, E-mail, contacts and calendaring, database, music and access to audio books. If she doesn't need any of those features because she has a notebook/netbook, there is another option.

My favorite way to use Sendero's GPS is via a product called Mobile Geo. Mobile Geo is a piece of software that runs on a standard Windows Mobile cell phone. The easiest way to run it is to use Mobile Geo on a Windows Mobile Standard phone with no touch screen and a front facing keyboard. If she doesn't like the tiny keyboards, she can get a bluetooth keyboard.

You may be asking yourself what's the difference?

Sendero has licensed out their GPS technology to other companies to create products off of. The products provide the same information and in most cases the verbiage is exactly the same.

I have seen other off the shelf solutions including Navigon for the iPhone but it's nowhere near as complete an implimentation as Mobile Geo or any of the other Sendero products. I trust Sendero to get me confidently from point a to point b, on the job. Getting to my appointments on time, is a reflection on my performance, and I wouldn't trust that to any other solution. Sendero always gets me to my destination.


For many years after I moved to Los Angeles in 1984, I had very little knowledge of street names, the types of businesses on those streets, whether particular streets ran East/West or North/South, etc. After travelling with GPS since 2000, and, in essence, watching what I was passing, I have a good understanding of where things are, even when I don't have my GPS with me. And, since I use GPS with a braille display, I automatically know the spellings of street names and of names for businesses. GPS does not replace the need for good mobility and orientation skills. But knowing where I am and what is around me greatly enhances my ability to travel independently whether I am on foot, on a bus, or in a taxi or private automobile.

When walking with my guide Dog, AJ, I generally use Sendero GPS to tell where I am. With one-handed commands that don't interfere with my dog, I can quickly determine the name of the street I am on, the next intersection, my direction of travel, and whether I am getting closer to my destination. This removes the necessity of counting streets, and allows me to focus more on traffic sounds and the people around me.

When traveling on a bus, I set my destination to my final address. I can then tell when I am getting close to my destination. Also, I don't need to worry if the driver forgets to call my stop, or simply turns off the automatic stop announcements.

When travelling in a taxi, or with my wife or sons in a private automobile, I use Sendero GPS to quickly locate restaurants and businesses of interest, and then compute routes to those destinations. This makes me totally aware of where we are going and how we can get there. It makes me an active and helpful navigator when travelling instead of a passive passenger who is not giving any input. Having someone tell you, as a driver, which streets are coming up before you can see them can be very helpful; especially at night.

When it comes to locating things, Sendero GPS also functions as a geographically-based electronic yellow pages. There are over 15,000,000 public and personal businesses included in the data base for the United States and Canada. I look up items of interest either where I am, or virtually in remote locations. Since telephone numbers are included I can, for example, call in advance to see if a particular business is open, its hours of operation, and whether they have a product that I am looking for.


I remember the first time I had my Sendero GPS working with my Braille Note. I was like a child in a candy store. Why! It was for the first time that I didn't have to ask a Access driver "Where are we?" It gave me so much information that I was craving for and really didn't know what I was missing not having a GPS on the Braille Note. The most ironic thing is when I give precise directions to drivers who don't know where they are driving or I turn off speech and know when I'm being taken for a joy ride and need to correct the driver.

The Sendero GPS has given me more independence when walking in unfamiliar areas. As Mike stated, the ability to find specific points of interests at one's fingertips is essential for total independence, especially when traveling by myself. The spatial directional input is wonderful in having a choice on cardinal, right-left, and clock directional indicators. This gives more precise abilities to find the exact location of one's destination. I am looking forward in the near not distant future in traveling to London and visiting my son. It's the fact that I will be able to know exactly where I am and get to my final destination independently. If I have the good fortune, I would like to take that walking tour that Bob Sweetman mapped out in England. There are so many applications with the Sendero GPS that I need to explore.


Well, today I was dropped off at the wrong stop on the way home from church so, thankfully I'd taken the GPS which I considered not taking. So I just gave it my home address and it gave me the route home. I wasn't that far off, but it was still an area I didn't know and the weather just isn't conducive for just a nice walk so was sooo glad it was with me! I also used it yesterday to give a sighted friend directions since he didn't know where we were going and he wanted to compare it with his own GPS . His wife, also a friend of mine and a partial, was also impressed with the detail it gives and how right on it is. She can see enough to use google maps, but was impressed nonethe less.


I just started learning the Sendero GPS for PK yesterday. Thanks to Gil in the mid-west and Chris G (in Buffalo, NY, I think) for help getting my systems up and running. I had the GPS operating through the Braille readout of the PK on our Portland, Oregon public transport. Very interesting!

I think with this Sendero software and GPS receiver device, once I really grasp the informational possibilities, I'm going to be traveliciously invincible!!


F and K, I think you're both right but GPS to me is a lot more as well. While it's a definite solid tool in ones way finding tool chest, I think some of the other features, especially the POI aspects are a lot more interesting. Being able to "look around" or find out what's going on around you just outside your abilities is amazing.

For example, I walk to a lunch spot I really enjoy at least once a week. Sure I know where the lunch spot is but for the first time two weeks ago when I made that trip with GPS I realized there's an A1 storage, Sony electronics and several other businesses on the way. I feel more connected to that route now so in my own mind instead of thinking ok I walk down past that big building thingy and hang a left now I think, ok I walk past A1 storage and hang a left towards north 1st street.

If that's not enough the car possibilities are just as exciting. We don't discuss that as much on this list but it was huge for me on our travels last weekend to be able to perceive what types of businesses we were traveling by. I could participate in lunch selection as an example and had the same sign / local information that the sited folks in the car had. When we reached our destination (the Gilroy Garlic Festival) unlike my sited companions I wasn't hindered by the bad signage. While they were trying to figure out where the park was from the parking location I simply noticed that Christmas Hill (the center of the park) was 875 feet in front of me at 10 o'clock. We decided to follow the GPS and nailed our destination. My point is that not only are navigation and way finding clear winners but my ability to interact with my companions is enhanced greatly. It's just cool! By no means a magic bullet but definitely a groovie tool to have.


I definitely agree with you on this ability to interact with sighted peers and have equal access to the available signage information. I always have my GPS with me and know a number of routes and can navigate to them without the GPS, but I always find that it is great having the ability to know where I am for sure at any one time and to know what is around me and what I am passing by. It is great having the ability to put a label of the streets and buildings I may pass daily or have never come across before. Yes, the car experiences are just as exciting. it is great being in a car and being able to point things out to the drivers that he/she notice and for the driver to point out things that was just announced on the GPS. All of the other aspects of the GPS make it that much better--the ability to get the address, phone number and other such information on the fly is great.


One of the most hand uses of the Sendero GPS, is a business yellow pages. When I needed a basement repair company, I just searched for basement and found three businesses with in ten miles. I was then able to call each of them and get estimates and information. Try that from directory assistance.


Hello GPS Travelers,
I've been using my Voice Sense with Sense Nav since the end of December. New uses for it are discovered on a daily basis. We were on a ferry boat in the middle of Puget Sound yesterday trying to decide on a pub for dinner.

Using the GPS I was able to locate one that was for the most part on our way home. Called the Pub to be certain it would still be open for business, created a vehicle route, and had a great time over dinner at the Pub. The GPS guided us nearly to the front door. I was surprised to learn that the ferry route was listed as a portion of one of our state highways.

The Sendero Group software was able to calculate a vehicle route from the middle of Puget Sound. Having immediate access to establishment information has been quite helpful time and time again.

Last winter we got lost during a storm in Washington D.C., and couldn't find our hotel. Tucked the equipment in under the rain gear, slipped headphones on under the hood, created a pedestrian rout to the hotel, and arrived safely at the front door 20 minutes later. The GPS experience for me began several years ago with my original BrailleNote and pre V2.0 Sendero Group GPS software. To me it is still amazing stuff. This GPS along with my Golden Guide have made it possible to do much traveling and exploring.


I'm just getting started with the GPS, and already, the others who regularly ride my bus, even the driver, are interested when I tell them what we are passing. It is great to learn about places you didn't know you were passing every day.


I have found that even after giving GPS demonstrations to people who are sighted in their own community that they find things that they didn't even know were there. These aare locations that they past by all of the time on a daily basis going to and from home. This happens to a greater extent with blind folks because so much of the information is visual signage. It is almost like a new window has opened when they hear the Sendero GPS announcing things like the streets they are on, the cross streets and the various points of interest that are around them.

This was the feeling that I had when I first obtained the Sendero GPS two years ago. I felt that i was in control and didn't have to rely on sighted people telling me about what things were around and what streets I was on and what streets we were approaching. I find myself being the person answering questions like, "what street are we on?" and, "where are we?" It is quite powerful having this ability to have just as much if not more information than the sighted folks you are with. The people I was in the car with were stunned when I was able to say we were on 4th and Mission. I also find myself being the person finding distances to certain locations, getting the phone number of restaurants and making reservations all within a matter of a few seconds. I also find myself being the person saving the driver from unfolding their map on the dashboard and me telling them where to turn and where to get on and off the freeway.

All of this access to location information wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the Sendero GPS, the hard work of the Sendero Group, especially Mike May and Charles LaPierre.

I wouldn't even think twice about walking out the door without my PK and GPS.


I recently took a trip to Meidera Beach Florida with my Sendero GPS. I used it on the plane and it was so neat to see how GPS could tell me how fast it was flying, how high we were and what we were flying over. It announced tons of semetaries between Pittsburgh and Tampa.

Once I was on the beach, I wanted to do something I was afraid of doing since I lost my vision. Which was to walk alone the beach endlessly without getting lost. Beach is generally so spread out once you start walking, I would have tough time coming back to where I started. Well, at this beach, there was a bench. I set a POI there and just starte walking along the water, I walked and walked. Then I walked back using the GPS right to where the bench was. It was somewhat windy and sometimes disorienting, but the GPS kept me on track. It was relatively an empty beach so no girls on the beach but the GPS on the beach was wonderful. I like Beach Boys songs as you can tell.

From the bench, I could follow the path back to the motel. The motel was so close to the beach and there was no street to cross so I should say it was a very blind friendly motel. Since GPS V4 came out, I feel a lot more comfortable using it as a pedestrian. I also used the GPS to help others locate places to eat or ones that delivered food. I think that The GPS is just a great tool for us blind people. BTW, the Florida beach was great. When I was there, I wished that I could buy one of those condos along the beach. But I guess accomplishing such a goal is far from a guy who can bearly afford a GPS SMA. The latest version is well-worth though. I know I am going to take my GPS when I go back to Japan to visit my family next month. I know that there's no maps there but I will sent POIs like a mad man when I am there just for fun.


Hi folks!
Well my gps certainly earned its keep and then some last weekend when family were here visiting.

We traveled probably 120 miles all told, and had a regular commercial gps as well as the Sendero GPS. I also wanted to use Trekker but the cradle seems to have gone out and so we had to table that idea.

But the 2 greatest options were follow route with turns only and auto recalculation of routes. My Sister doesn't listen and so that recalculation feature got a tremendous workout.

But it was interesting to hear the commercial gps telling us to stay in the right lane so we could make that right turn wherever.

I was particularly intrigued because a couple asked us to join them at a restaurant and the gentleman talked about several restaurants. They gave us the vicinity of where these places were located and I whipped the gps out and enthralled them by looking every one of them up and finding every one of them.

Guys! A good tip when you are trying to find say a restaurant or store when the gps asks for the ending distance 20 miles is a good general number to put in. With the abundance of strip malls and shopping centers you are bound to find what you are looking for with that kind of search. We found a home depot and a Crate and Barrel, plus a few other things. Also something else I came across was when I keyed in Macy's I got 3 addresses quite far from where we were at a taco bell. But when I keyed in under shops, I got a Macy's Robinson May much closer to where we were.

I am curious to know if way in the future our gps won't offer the advice of which lanes to stay in when we key in vehicle routes. My Sister was astounded when I walked her to the mailboxes, passed it on purpose so the gps could tell me that they were slightly behind and to my left. All in all, we had quite a stress free weekend as a result of this fabulous tool.


Hi list
Well today I was piano tuning in Leeds and the dog and GPS were brilliant. On a noisey bus the braille output on my PK is a winner. It tracked me five miles and bang on the correct bus stop. It is so busy now and people are not what they used to be I am really sure that very soon it will be nearly impossible for us totally blind people to get about at certain times of the day due to busy conditions. I know the Sendero PK and GPS are expensive but I am so fortunate to have a job and I think the GPS is worth every penny. If I could see a screen I could have a cheap GPS but I cannot and we are so lucky this technology is here for us.

A small but possibly important GPS coup

Friday night, I was navigating for a trip. A couple of friends and I were going to see the Tori Amos show in Oakland. The show was problematic, but the GPS functioned flawlessly, better than the Thomas Guide that we had for backup. In particular after the show, we were figuring how to get from the Paramount Theater to I-580 in the most efficient way. I was able to do an address lookup without specifying an address number or a cross street. For those who don't know, if you don't put in an address, GPS will offer you the option of choosing the nearest address. As an experiment, we tried this, and it directed us to an on-ramp that my driver didn't even know existed. Awesome, and a lot faster than calculating a 100-mile route back to Sacramento just to find the appropriate highway ramp to choose. This is a win for the Sendero product.


Hi folks!

I had a really super nice adventure yesterday and it was something I have wanted to do for a very long time. A relative was in town and took me out to lunch. He had a Magellan GPS with him which talked, and I brought my Braille Note GPS with me. I sat and listened to his GPS as he keyed in the address of the restaurant we were visiting which I looked up for him on my GPS.

Then the fun began. He created a route on his and I created a route on mine. The time it took for these route creation was equal. Then we were off. What were the results? I am delighted to say that both routes were identical except that my GPS gave much more detailed information and with Charles' voice telling us to "Continue Straight," We arrived at the eatery in no time at all, and had quite a pleasant meal.

But we had some of those squiggly turns where you make a right then a left and my GPS was right on the money, a little better, I daresay than the Magellan.

So that is my latest and greatest adventure and well this is by far the best GPS ever. As a matter of fact my relation asked if there were any possibility that this gps would be available for sighted people. Oh by the way, I told him what we were passing as we drove down the streets and he kept saying "Why isn't mine doing that? I told him because it figured he could see. So I'm one happy camper this morning.

Thanks so much to Charles and all of the hard-working folks at Sendero Group.

I got my first GPS from Sendero a few days ago. I am in love with it. Story of my first experience. I am deaf-blind user. First, I walked 10 long blocks for 1 1/2 hours. Fantastic! Then I hopped into the bus. I read many names of the streets. A few names that I have never heard before. Huh! I must have forgotten the names. Of course, GPS has better eyes than mine. LOL! Anyway, I read the wrong information but I found out the bus was on the detour. What a big help me to know the area. You know the bus driver NEVER informed me about the street closing or NEVER told me, Sorry, I forgot to tap you. Now I trust GPS but not driver!!!

The following is a sampling of comments and interchanges from Sendero BrailleNote GPS users.

Well, I had a wonderful opportunity this afternoon to work this new version 4.0. I had been walking to various attractions in our complex, e. g. the 2 swimming pools, the hot tub and the fitness center.

Since the smaller of the 2 pools is practically a stone's throw from my back entrance I took the gps and marched down the walking path and things were a great deal smoother in the locating of the gate into the pool area. Its a really narrow part of the fence which is distinguished only by a longish hinge and a lock. I had moved the threshold to 3 feet and was delighted when I was able to easily find the gate.

I also had fewer problems finding my way out of the pool area too. It did help that I was there by myself and no sighties ushered me out of the gate at the other end of the pool putting me in the middle of the complex. This complex is connected by dozens of walkways just wide enough for one human and a dog. All entrances are completely the same so in the beginning I had to have a sighted person (seeing eye) help me make absolutely sure that the "top of steps to the apartment" was really the one down to my flat.

It works because I had to live in another apartment down at the other end and made that a temporary poi and had no trouble at all shuffling back and forth between the 2 places.

But it is interesting to see a particularly favorite coffee place now in the commercial POI database. Next time I go down there I will mark its door in my personal POIS.

All in all its really fun to walk around and a Neighbor and I are going to take a shortcut through this gigantic parking lot to get to the large pool and I am going to record it.

Anyway as always, great job all of you!


I'm up and running with Version 4 and just have to say "Congrats" to you all at Sendero for such a wonderful upgrade and I'm also very pleased indeed with my initial findings with regard to new POIS and map locations here in the UK.

I do have questions, once I've played for a bit longer and had chance to digest some of the manual, but for now it's "Great, great, great!"

I even managed to find my husband's place of work on the map (though it wasn't totally obvious at first); most people do not manage to locate it at all!

Oh - and yes - my Holux cover is great too! I felt it was secured sufficiently with the velcro and the receiver stayed safely on my shoulder!


I'm speechless (good thing I can WRITE an email!). What a fantastic job you did on GPS v4! With everything I read about it, it only got better. Everything you put into it is good, very useful, a very noticeable improvement. Thank you SO MUCH for all your time and all the very hard work you put into this. You make a lot of people very happy. I just installed it so haven't had much time to play with it but I can hardly wait to check it all out.

The new help menu is really great. The ability to switch back into the program is absolutely wonderful. I really like the next/previous turn command within a route. I find it so much easier than the way it was. I also noticed that the "arrived near destination" message is shown in braille as well as spoken. That's very helpful. I was playing with a route in virtual mode and at least I never noticed this arrival message in braille before.

I'm eager to play with the replay function. I think it will be fun if I go for a walk or a ride with someone and don't want to check where we are all the time but do want to know afterwards where we went (or be able to tell someone who asks about it) to replay the walk or ride.

Thank you for all the helpful hints you added to the program. It's very nice to know what's going on, whether there's a connection or not and if not, why not; it's nice to be put straight into virtual mode if no receiver is detected.

The way you made the address lookup is great; it's very nice not to have to try several zip codes before the program finds a match. I'm also VERY VERY HAPPY with the ability to reconnect from within the program. That is absolutely wonderful.

The new maps and POI's are great too. Not only does it find my grandparents' address (after the city was mysteriously misplaced in v3.5) but for the first time it can actually create a route from their house to another address. For some reason it would never do that before.

And the POI's! After unpacking the files I noticed that the POI file(s) for our country had gone from approx. 714 KB to 44 MB! I did a POI search from both my house and my grandparents' house using v3.5 and v4 within 1, 2 and 5 km. From my house I found 34, 137 and something like 169 POI's many of which were user POI's. Now, with only the two commercial POI files loaded I found 478, 1219 and 2648 POI's! From my grandparents' place (with no or hardly any user POI's) I found in v3.5 5, 13 and 62 POI's; now there were 134, 427 and 2904! I'll check out my neighbourhood and see what's there (and ask my aunt what that government establishment in her street is).

I'm only just beginning to enjoy the miracle that you made happen and I thank you once again. Enjoy all the streams of compliments everyone will pour out all over you; you more than deserve them!

Forever grateful,

I have had the GPS for awhile, and I really enjoy riding on a bus now. You get streets, and some of the pois, speed. It makes the trip not as boring. Also going in a car, and directing the driver on different roads in the area. Even though gas is quite expensive, we have a convertable, and going on the back roads, and trying different ones is fun, and when it is near time to get going towards home, I can direct the driver that way. Especially if the person that is driving and his wife hasn't been on the roads either. I hope to take it out in a boat, and also do some hiking trails. It gives us a little more like vision, we know what is around. If we happen to be able to mark trails, and find some stores or restaurants that aren't marked, we can do that also.

Keep up the good work!

Hello all,
I used my BrailleNote GPS for the first time last Thursday. The GPS has opened an exciting world. I am real hesitant when it comes to anything new. This is especially true regarding any kind of technology.

I worked with Mike Gibson from Humanware. We met on the 16th street mall in downtown Denver. This is an outside area covering several blocks. It was so cool sitting their hearing all the different places that were around me. We also virtually explored Grand Junction where I currently live. We walked around some but this proved very difficult because I was trying to read the display and work a dog at the same time. I went shopping with a friend the next day. I told her the names of some of the buildings we were passing and the streets we turned on.

I think the gps tutorial will be the first one I will read from cover to cover. I tend to look up the information for the immediate task I want to perform. I need a better way to anchor my receiver, though.
I just had to share my excitement.


Hi All,
I wanted to share my GPS weekend with all of you. As a new user, just about a week's experience, I set off on a train trip with a friend, also blind. We listened to my Sendero as it kept us updated on the train speed, the points of interest, the towns we passed and on and on. How fun it was to know where we were along our trip.

When we reached the end of the run, we took a taxi to our destination and I used the GPS with a route open between the train station and the destination. I told the driver that I was practicing and he was impressed that I was able to tell him where I thought we should turn. I told him that I knew he knew his way, but I was learning the new system.

I was able to record some user POI's for the college campus where I spent the weekend. When it was time to go, one participant wanted directions to the bus stop. Knowing that I had lots of bus information available, I found stops and she confirmed the one she needed. I also learned that the numbers that had seemed irrevelent before turned out to be the bus numbers. Never mind that my search from our known location was only 313 feet, I found what I thought should be the bus stop and, low and behold, there sat the bus. She would have missed it if she had waited where others told her it should be. It was already parked and the driver soon came out from the building and boarded the bus. He would not have seen her waiting about 300 feet behind him. I was thrilled with my GPS.

Later, after the return train trip, when my husband met and drove us home, I set a route to my friend's house. The Sendero told us where to turn. This was not news for my husband, but it was certainly fun for me.

This coming weekend, my husband and I will be traveling to new territory and I am hopeful that I will have enough experience to help him with directions as we go. Very excited,


I remember how excited I was when I first put Sendero GPS to real practical use. I'd been out doing field work for a nonprofit organization, and had been using local taxis to do it. Prior to obtaining Sendero GPS I was at the mercy of cabbies who took inordinately long routes to get me from point A to point B and they were really sticking it to me farewise. So when I got the GPS, I started keeping tabs on those cabbies. Finally, one day I nailed this guy who took me to an incorrect destination. Turns out there were two potential destinations with identical street names and numbers, one in Downey, the other in Pico Rivera. I told this particular cabbie that he'd gotten me to the right street name and street number but the wrong city and that I wasn't going to pay for the error. He got really irate , and tried to insist that I didn't know what I was talking about. I calmly told him that I most certainly did and showed him the Sendero GPS. To make a long story short, when he realized that I had him dead to rights, that I'd busted him big time, he shut up in a hurry, got me to the right place and only charged me the proper fare for the shorter route. Revenge never tasted so sweet and even though the cab fare that I'd saved didn't nearly cover the cost of the GPS, which I'd paid for out of pocket, it felt like the GPS paid for itself with that one incident alone.


My wife and I were on the blue ridge parkway in our 36 foot motor home in the fog. Did I tell you we were towing a Dodge Durango? Well we were and we could not find the campground. It was new and not listed but we had been there before I had marked as a user POI. My wife said she could not see 3 feet in front of us. You do not turn around on the parkway for miles you just turn off to where you are going. But remember we could not see, man what a fix. I heard this voice say destination 30 feet. It was right and a little light came threw. My wife found the driveway and we were safe. But we could have gone 70 miles down the road before we could have found a safe place to get off with the rig. Man we just thanked God and thanked God again. We love our toy or whatever this thing is people want to call it who do not understand.


Hi all,
I have recently got the Sendero GPS for my PK. Before that, I had Trekker GPS for a few days until I decided to return it. Boy what a difference. I just love this thing. I play it all the time and I can't get enough of this. Since I have a field job and travel constantly both by car and by public transportation, this has been and will be very a useful tool. I just never knew how much I can be of a help to my driver and it gives me a lot better ideas of where I am traveling.

Here are some of my personal views of why I chose Sendero GPS for PK over Trekker. Please recognize that I only used Trekker for about 4 days so some of the problems that I had could be just due to the lack of my knoledge. I have no intention of talking bad about Trekker.

  1. Sendero gives me access to Braille. When I am reading names of streets, towns, address, having the braille makes it so much easier to know what I am reading quickly especially in the noisy street or in the car with the stereo blasting.
  2. Inputting data onto Sendero seems a lot easier and faster for me.
  3. Whether it was my fault or not, the Trekker has crashed on me many times. Once I lost the speech, it was hard to know what to do. I ended up having to do cold reset and having to reinstall the software from the PC. SO far, my PK has not crashed at all during the use of GPS.
  4. Even though Sendero GPS has many commands that you need to memorize, they are mostly easy to remember. Once you know the commands, you can operate the software a lot quicker than using the menu oriented system.
  5. Finding locations virtually using the address or POI search seems a lot easier and intuitive with Sendero GPS.
  6. Battery seems to last a lot longer on my PK than the Dell PDA.

There might be more but this is all I can think of right now.


I use my Sendero GPS to know where I am in space. As a phone book for businesses, and as a route finder when I am in a car. Great for knowing if the cab has left you off at the right house. Pedestrian routes are nice, but I find that it is often better to make a manual route. The maps don't know about things like sidewalks, which street corners have lights, and which day the garbage carts are on which sidewalks. That's local information at it's thoroughest. Just not having to remember how many blocks you have traveled before making that next turn is wonderful!


I love mine. I have used it for the traditional purposes of navigating a walking or driving route to a known destination and have found that for the most part it works really well, especially for the pedestrian routes. My wife and I have used the find function to find new restaurants for our newly established date nights, and we've discovered several cool new (to us) restaurants this way. I have used it to play disc golf by walking the course and entering the locations of the holes as way points in a manual route, complete with elevation info. This had some problems, but i think I've figured ways around them. My wife and I are geocachers and have successfully used my GPS unit to find caches.


I've been using the Sendero GPS since Version 1, and I've been hooked from day 1. I vacation regularly on the beach. Before the Sendero GPS, I had a hard time finding my starting point when I took a walk on the beach or boardwalk. Now, I mark my starting point as a point of interest, whether it's a sand doon, a chair, some steps, etc. After I've walked a couple of miles, I simply turn around and set this point of interest as a destination. The GPS software will then tell me the direction and distance to my destination either automatically at given time intervals, or when I ask. I have been doing this since version 1, and I still find it a great feature, on the beach, in the woods, on the water, etc.

Now there are automated street maps and you can create automatic routes, either for the vehicle or a pedestrian. Since I use the GPS every day, it would take too long to specify all the practical applications I use. To name just a few: I don't have to depend on the bus driver to tell me when I've reached my stop. I can explore my neighborhood or any neighborhood virtually, street by street, before I've taken a step outside. There are millions of preloaded points of interest organized by categories. If I want to know the restaurants within 5 miles of my home or a hotel, I can search for them, look up their addresses and phone numbers, and create a route from where I am to that restaurant, church, post office etc. In short, my way finding literacy has been greatly expanded, which expands my traveling confidence. I still have to use my good judgment, common sense, and mobility skills, but I have a lot more information in my arsenal.


We were in Phoenix last weekend with our son and his friends, and had some time to kill after we arrived. Bob did a POI search and found Honey Bear's BBQ. It sounded good, so we headed on over. He got us there with no problems, but the kids and I thought it looked like a hole in the wall...we were thinking that maybe we should look for the nearest Burger King. But then we realized that both the parking lot and the restaurant were packed, so we figured it was worth a try, and it was fantastic.

Later, we wanted to check out Sonic Burgers because the kids had been told that it is even better than In n Out. Since one of the kids with us is an In n Out employee here in L.A., this was an important stop. Our Phoenix friends directed us to Sonic, but alas they had given us the wrong intersection, and it was too new to be in the POI database. So we found another Sonic that *was* in the BN GPS database, and thanks to the phone number, with a call to the older one, we quickly found the right one.

One of the kids decided that "Mr. Sweetman is scary with that thing!"

Fun vacation memories thanks to BN GPS! And now, after a weekend of eating with college students, it is back to our diets!

Hi Mike,
I just wanted to let you know that I very much appreciate the opportunity I had to meet you and to attend the event at The Seeing Eye. I do thank you for taking the time to load the NJ maps for me.

GPS means a lot to me; it was the sole reason why I initially purchased the BrailleNote. My GPS victories are not dramatic but mean a lot to me because each one enables me to take control of my world, rather than being controlled by it. With the eventual total loss of my sight, navigation has been the biggest challenge. Thank goodness for you and for your work with GPS!


Hi, I know this has happened to all of you many times, but it was a first for me. I mostly use my GPS with pedestrian routes, creating them and then following by walking with my Seeing-Eye dog, Velvet. But the other day I was traveling to a friend's house by bus. I told the driver where I wanted to get off, and I also set repeat cross streets. I saw Perkins Street come up, and said, "Oh, this is my stop." By the way the driver responded, I could tell that he'd forgotten that he told me that he'd call out the stop. I hadn't traveled that route before, so I really didn't know how long the ride would be.

What a thrill! And I got off, crossed the street, took a right, and walked directly to the house. Yippie!


I'd like to add my praise to this one. The download system is also truly brilliant.

I'm in the UK ordered my upgrade on Monday with the fast track option, and had the software and other download information within hours.

The praise doesn't stop there though, I've been using the product extensively this week and it's performance over 3.3 which in itself was great, is again fantastic. The map data user interface etc compliments the BrailleNote perfectly.

Thanks so much for a fabulous product!


Hello group:
I just wanted to compliment the Sendero team for outstanding customer service which is truly rare these days. My order was shipped the same day I placed it, and both Carl and Gil were very helpful with my pre-sale questions. Bravo! I'm looking forward to receiving my software today.

Thanks, and a great weekend to all on the list.


Subject: [gps-talkusers] Re: Gps Scottsdale and me:
Jerry, I have used both and can respond to this as well. The trekker is much more limited. Its POI database is much smaller and the maps seem to be much less detailed. For example, I did a search for a Radisson hotel in a city in Michigan and it was not there. A further search revealed only six hotels in the database in a city with a population of over one hundred thousand, and only two Radisson hotels within a ninety-mile search range. While the Trekker located streets there seemed to be more streets with no name.

I believe the receivers are comparably accurate so user defined way points should be similar.

As soon as Sendero incorporates their GPS solution into a smaller device, hopefully designed primarily for that purpose as opposed to a note taker, calendar and so forth, it will for sure be my choice, it is a far superior product both in the areas I've mentioned above, and it is more user and feature friendly.


Subject: [gps-talkusers] a road trip
Good Morning all, Woo Hoo, I went on a little road trip over the weekend. I had such a great time with my gps!

I can remember before I had my gps, I hated even short trips! But now I wish I could go on a longer one. I knew right where we were, how much longer it was going to be, what was around us, and how much longer we had to go. It was a great time for me to sit and mess around with it until I got it right!

I have to tell you, I have 6 and 7 year old daughters. They were in the back seat; first they were a little upset because I had my headphones on so they could not hear the system. But I did not want to bug my mom who was driving. The whole way there they were so full of questions. How much longer mom, how long have we been driving. I was able to tell them how far we had already went and how much farther we had to go. It was real cute!

They really like mom's new gps! And mom loves to be able to tell them these things! Thank you so much for all those of you that worked endlessly on this! What a wonderful thing you have all done!

Sincerely, a very happy person,

Subject: [gps-talkusers] Re: That site to find rural addresses

Hi all,
She was in Olean. She is on the border near the expressway. Have to tell you, guys, that if it weren't for the GPS, we never would have found her house. She lives out in the country. The roads don't have streetlights. My friend who was driving was having a horrible time, but the GPS wasn't! We found it, spot on, spot on!

Ann P.

I love my phone and gps I feel like a whole person again. I can go places within reason and enjoy my self. I am thinking about getting a job half time or do a little traveling.

J.Garcia Commander
American G.I. Forum

The other day I was traveling an unfamiliar bus route and needed to use that very risky technique known as relying on the driver to tell me when I'd reached my stop. Well, surprise surprise, he didn't. We don't have maps here in NZ but fortunately I'd been in the area before and had logged some user points. I signaled the bus to stop and got off just one stop past where I wanted to be. If things had been left to the driver I'd have gone two miles out of my way and would have been late at my destination. I'm a travel instructor and of course I believe in basic travel skills but GPS certainly got me out of a scrape quicker and easier than without it.


What an experience!

I had the most awesome experience with the Braille Note GPS this afternoon. I work on the campus of a university where I am familiar with most of the campus. However, there are parts of campus I rarely visit and thus am not very familiar with. Today was one of those days where I needed to attend a meeting in a building I rarely visit.

We have accessible door to door shuttle service that I used to get to the building, but I decided to take an adventurous walk and use the GPS to get back to my office once the meeting had ended. I have one of the entrances to my building set as a POI and defined that as my destination. I then used that information as I walked along some unfamiliar sidewalks to determine my location. My first attempt led me to a dead end, but once I turned around, my journey was amazingly smooth as silk.

I walked with my Seeing Eye dog down winding sidewalks past large buildings and eventually found myself approaching a familiar road. The entire time, I used the getting warmer method to see how far I was from my destination and the x command to see how far I was from any nearby streets. Once I came to the street, I knew exactly where I was but continued using the GPS to hear my distance from my destination. I had never walked that route before and was amazed at how helpful the GPS was for me.

There is no doubt in my mind that I would have ended up lost had I tried such an adventure without my GPS. I think I have new found courage to venture to those unfamiliar places, set some points of interests, and take more adventurous walks in unfamiliar places.

Thank you Sendero Group for making such a neat and wonderful way finding product.


Hi All:
Thought I would share a great GPS experience I had last week. I needed to take a 50 mile trip using several public transit systems to an area I had never been before.

After a short cab ride, a Golden Gate Bus ride to San Francisco, a BART ride to Pittsburgh, I was told to take a Delta Transit bus to Oakley. Not only had I not been to Oakley before, but I had never heard of Delta Transit. I found the bus stop and the correct bus with the help of another passenger who was taking the same bus.

What we both learned quickly was that this was the bus drivers first day on the route. After about a half hour of bus ride, as we left one of the stops, everyone on the bus hollered at the driver that he was going the wrong way. He went a few more blocks before he stopped and asked the passengers if they knew how to get back on the route. The general response was that nobody knew.

I had my Braille Note GPS on and asked him where he needed to be to get back on the route. He gave me the intersection where he had made the wrong turn. I mapped a vehicular route from our current position and let the BrailleNote tell him how to get back. Needless to say, everyone on the bus was amazed that the blind guy could navigate better than they could. What a great tool the Braille Note GPS is!


I am one happy camper right now.

Peg and I got on the walking path and I set my destination as the top of steps to my apartment. Well we walked and as things go this ol' path curves around and Peg saw a ramp and took me up the ramp and I realized we were at the opposite end of the complex and the GPS was telling my destination was to my right some 900 feet. No problem!

I simply keyed in a wooden bridge and stream which is located on the property to use as a reference point and used my sound and got to the bridge in no time. Then I simply directed Peggy to make a left as we had taken the far entrance and this stream has 3 different sections of bridge. Quite weird. Anyway I knew exactly where I was and as a matter of fact as I was walking a man stopped me and said quite nicely, "Well, I can certainly tell by the look on your face you aren't lost, what on earth is that thing you are carrying?"

I told him about the GPS and how I would never have come out to Arizona had it not been for it.

Anyway it was quite a nice experience but I am curious to see what lies on a busy street we walked up to.

Mary Ellen

Lost without GPS

Taking buses is a fact of life if you're blind. You learn how to get to the bus stop, which bus to take, where to change buses, and to rely on the bus driver to tell you when you have reached the stop. Up until last year, I had done all this without any navigation system for the blind. I had to rely on a sighted person to show me what I needed to know or get information from bus drivers or a passerby. All that changed when I got the Braille Note GPS. I could go anywhere I wanted, when I wanted and didn't have to rely on anyone. I have even learned some routes so well that i don't need GPS at all. I still carry it in case a route I know can't be taken, or if i get lost.

On a Sunday I decided to go to church by bus. This place is one I have been to many times, so I know exactly where it is. My route is simple take bus 41 to Colonial and 436, transfer to bus 28 or 29, and take it to Amelia and Orange where I could walk one block to catch the Lymmo. I have taken this route many times, because i go other places on the Lymmo as well. I set out from my apartment and got to the 41 bus stop. When the bus arrived, I got on and told the driver I wanted to get off at Colonial and 436. Usually, when you tell them that, they'll let you off before the corner. When getting off the bus, you walk down the sidewalk until it ends. You follow the grass until you get past the second driveway and the bus stop is right after that. The driver didn't call out the stop where i wanted but I heard the automated announcement say, "Highway 436 and east Colonial Drive, Transfer to links 28, 29, and 30." I thought that i was where i needed to be so got off the bus. I walked in the direction where I thought that Colonial Drive would be located. Wrong!!! I had the GPS with me, but I was not running it at that time. Where i was didn't look right so I turn the GPS on. The GPS information told me I was on 436, but near Santarosa. "Oh, no!!! Colonial Drive is behind me. Where is the bus stop?" I have this bus stop marked as a point of interest and set that as my destination. I started following the GPS. Not only had I gone past Colonial Drive, but I was on the wrong side of the road. Colonial and 436 is the third most dangerous intersection in Florida, but I had to cross the street if i was going to catch the bus. I found the place to cross, waited for the traffic on 436 to start moving and ran quickly across colonial, praying that no vehicle would hit me.

Arriving at the bus stop, I waited for the 28, because i had missed the 29. The other bus that runs in that area is bus 30, and that was the bus that arrived. I can take this bus as far as Colonial and Magnolia, so that's what i did. My plan was to walk from there to Livingston Street and Orange Avenue, where I can catch the Lymmo. I got to the bus stop, got off the bus and began walking to Orange Avenue.

On Orange Avenue, I began looking for the Lymmo. I didn't set that as a destination because I knew where it was. When I got to the Lymmo stop, I decided I could probably get there faster if i just walked. The route that the GPS gave me was to just go down Orange Avenue to Pine Street. Though I got a bit disoriented the GPS kept me going in the right direction. I didn't know that there was construction between Central Boulevard and Pine Street on Orange Avenue. No problem, I knew I could get to the church from Central Boulevard if I followed it to Magnolia, so that's what I did. I made it to the church, even though I was 8 minutes late for service, but I arrived!

I have had situations in the past where i needed GPS and have decided I knew where i was going, so left it at home. I got lost and had to struggle to get myself out of the situation. That Sunday trip to church would have been one of those times. There was nobody around, and who knows how long it would have taken for someone to find me. That Sunday trip to church was one example why I carry GPS with me all the time, because if I get lost I can still get where i want to go.


I am trying to decide whether or not to purchase the GPS for my BrailleNote. I think what I'm mainly interested in is just being able to know what points of interest are in the area I'm in, and where they are in relation to me. I'd also like to be able to "look out the window" so to speak as I'm riding in a car and know where I am and what I'm passing, and to get more familiar with how the freeways work in relation to different parts of the city, and to get more familiar with parts of the city I don't know well, even virtually.

I have visions of myself wondering what's in the area of say, a friend's house, or a hotel I'll be staying in, etc., and just exploring virtually to check it out. I also have visions of myself turning on the unit when riding in the car with my husband or daughter or a friend, so that I can be more than a passenger who just gets in at point A and gets out at point B, with no clue as to how the points relate to each other. But whether these cool-sounding things are possible, and whether they justify plunking down a thousand dollars remains to be seen. So I'm looking forward to hearing people's experiences.

My only experience with GPS was when we rented a car while visiting my husband's family in Oregon, which had GPS in it. I absolutely loved hearing it tell what streets we were turning onto and off of, and to hear it announce our arrival at our destination and be right. To have something like that in a little machine I carry around with me most of the time anyway sounds awesome. But the experiences of those who have it will give me a clearer picture of whether it's worth the money or not.

Peggy (eager to read more)

Hi Peggy,

I agree with you about having GPS available to a blind person.It is so easy to use, one button pushed and you get feed back on what street you are on, or what intersection you are at or approaching, what city and zip code you are in, how fast you are traveling, what point of interest you past or what point of interest is ahead!

I know what some people are saying, that it is a expensive waste of money, but they must not have tried it out to see the great mobility add it can be for a blind person.

I just traveled to Florida by plane with my two sons and it was neat to know where we were as we were flying. I used my BrailleNote and GPS receiver on the plane which is totally fine and had it near the window of the plane and I could tell what state and what city I was flying over, how fast we were traveling and the altitude and how far we had flown and how much further to the airport that we were heading too.

When we landed I put in the location of our hotel and assisted my son in arriving at our hotel very easily.

Boca Raton is very large and surrounded by many other cities, it seems in southern florida, just to be one large city after another and it really paid off having the GPS to assist us in finding restaurants, golf courses, our friends and family's locations, without having my son constantly looking at the printed map.

I also like knowing where I am when I take the bus and not relying on the bus driver to remember to let me off at the right bus stop or having to ask fellow passengers on the bus where you are.

Also a number of my customers like knowing how far they have traveled by cab, so they don't get ripped off by the cab driver charging to much, by taking them a longer route to their designation, and walking to places in your town that you have never traveled or travel infrequently and having the GPS on your BrailleNote, you can't get lost, unless your batteries go dead, which they last in the GPS receiver about 12 hours of continuous use.

So give it a try and you will see how great this device is if you add it to your BrailleNote.


After much thought, Peggy decided to buy the GPS program. Days later, she is writing about her experiences with her GPS.

I'm a new GPS user, although I wanted GPS since the days when they had to be used with a laptop that you carried around in a backpack on your back. But I got a BrailleNote a few years ago (a wonderful machine!), and when the GPS became available for it, I was really excited. I finally decided to stop daydreaming about it and get GPS for my BrailleNote, and it seems to be wonderful. And yes, it usually tells you within a few feet of when you get to where you want to go. But it's not a magical device, and depending on how the satellites are working and whether the GPS gods are smiling upon you, it may vary in its results. (grin) But it's a wonderful way to learn about the environment you're in, and it's lots of fun too. (grin)


Hi folks,

I use the BrailleNote GPS version 2.0 and also own the Victor Trekker GPS. There is no comparison. The braillenote wins hands down!

The Trekker can't read what is on the next block unless you are on that block, no look around. You can't use it in a moving vehicle, train, plane etc. If you run the batteries down, you loose all data and have to reinstall the Trekker using active sync, what a pain!

It costs $1,600 and you have no access to the other functions of the Ipaq. For well under $3,000, you can purchase a VoiceNote and the GPS 2.0 and have the best of both worlds, a totally accessable PDA and a outstanding GPS.

Roger Behm

I recently returned from a trip to Indiana. The difference between this trip and any other trip I'd taken was I had Braille Note GPS with me. My mom asked me to bring it because we didn't know our way around. We had to go to Indiana because my grandmother was very sick, and we didn't know how long she was going to live. We were originally scheduled to go on Thursday, Christmas day, but on Monday we got a call saying we had to come right away.

Monday, December 22, to Tuesday December 30, 2003

This will be a detailed account of how I used the GPS and how helpful it was to my family and I during the trip.

On Monday, we arrived in Indianapolis and I wanted to start getting information about the area. I had read in the Sportrack manual that when traveling more than 500 miles, it is necessary to reset the GPS receiver. I hoped I didn't have to do that because I wasn't sure if i could do it without sighted assistance. After a quick call to Sendero Group, I was told that I didn't have to reset the receiver but it might take a little longer than usual to get a position.

After arriving at the airport and finding my cousin, who was picking us up, we went to the hospital to see grandma. Since I could not get a position fix yet, I had to use virtual mode to get an idea as to what was around us. Once we left the hospital, I finally was able to get a position fix and tracked the route from the hospital to the hotel. Since I had a fix as to where the hotel was located, I created a rout from it to the hospital which we used on Tuesday. I followed it and knew when my dad decided to go a different way. The feature I like the GPS system has is set way point near GPS position. This way, if someone doesn't follow the route exactly, you will still know when you have arrived close to the destination. I set a virtual position to the hospital so I'd know what was around us. At one point, mom asked where a local restaurant was located. I pulled up the points of interest list for that area, and started reading.

ON Wednesday we moved out of the hotel and stayed with my cousin for the rest of the trip. Since I had his address, and had a location for the hotel, I set up a route for us to follow. We set off from the hotel and started following the route. The GPS indicated that we should turn on Shelbeyville Road. We didn't turn there. Since we were in two separate cars, and my cousin was leading us to his house, I asked, "Where is he going?" The GPS was telling me that there was a turn up ahead. Where is it? I closed the route I'd created and told the GPS to give me a new route from where we were to my cousin's house. Though my cousin was leading, I decided to give my dad directions anyway. Without GPS I would not have known where we were going, or where to turn if for some reason the two cars got separated. I also used it on the way to the hospital.

On Thursday, the GPS was put to the test. Up till this time, I don't think my family especially my mom knew how valuable the GPS was for us. I followed the route from my cousin's house to the hospital, where dad and I had to pick up my mom. Our destination was another cousin's house, where we were invited for Christmas dinner. The GPS didn't have the street where this person lived, so I had to create a route that got us close to our destination. Once we got to the location, we called my cousin on the cellular phone for directions. As we drove along I used GPS information to give him information about where we were.

After dinner, it was time to come home. Mom was concerned that we would not be able to find our way back to where we were staying. GPS to the rescue again! I created a route, and it got us back to our destination again.

The next time I used GPS was on Saturday. We had to go to Danville because my grandmother had died the day before. GPS gave me the information so I could tell my family where the funeral home was located. I programmed a route and we followed it. After getting something to eat, and dropping my parents off at the house, my cousin and I had to run some errands. One thing we needed to do was take a picture of my grandmother to the person who was helping us with the funeral arrangements. He had a funeral home of his own in town, so he said that we could drop the picture off there. I got the information and was able to tell my cousin the location and again I created a route. After dropping the picture off, we had to return some things to the nursing home where my grandmother stayed before she was taken to the hospital. I programmed a route, and we followed it. My cousin was going to drive through town, but decided to follow the GPS to see where it would lead us. We got ! to the nursing home! I also tracked the route my cousin took back to his house.

I didn't run GPS for the rest of the trip, but used the route feature and virtual mode to get information about places where we needed to go and how to get there.

My grandmother's funeral was on Monday, and though I didn't use the GPS to follow the route that was taken, I used it to know the route from the funeral home to the semitary, and how to get back to my cousin's house.

My cousin was impressed with the GPS and told everyone he knew about it. It is an item I don't leave at home. Like the American Express commercial used to say, "Don't leave home without it."


The following is an interaction between two people on a Orientation and Mobility List. The two people will be referred to with their initials, BE and MP.

MP: I am blind and have been a BrailleNote GPS user for about a year and have been tracking GPS product development for many years waiting for it to be ready for me and for my rehab clients. I believe Sendero's BrailleNote GPS is worth the expense for the information and independence it provides. I'll address your questions from my perspective below.

BE: I am a mobility instructor in Florida researching GPS and thinking about implementing into our program. I am looking for some opinions/information on GPS from O&M instructors who are possibly using the technology in their program, or from actual visually impaired users. Here are my questions:
Is the technology good enough or useful as an orientation concept teaching tool?

MP: The technology is definitely good enough even though there are many improvements to be made. What device does not have draw backs? the cane and overheads, the dog has to be relieved, the GPS has 30 foot accuracy and it will get better but this is good enough for now.

BE: Are handheld units you can buy at the local Wal Mart of any use (possibly for low vision students)?

MP: The screens on hand held units are small and the contrast is low. Someone with fairly high vision may be able to benefit from one of the high quality hand-helds with a good color screen. Your student would have to go to the store and see for him or herself.

BE: Do any handheld units do any basic speech?

MP: Speech designed for sighted users only announces when it is time to turn. Menus do not speak nor do street names.

BE: Has anyone used them (handheld or speech) with a totally blind student for teaching waypoint finding, geocaching, motivation?

MP: I participated in a BrailleNote GPS geocaching type event with 27 blind people in September. The users ranged in age from 19 to 65 and the skill level was very broad. This fun way of experiencing GPS seems to be ideal for all ages, especially students. I know Mike May and his team is working on a comprehensive training curriculum.

BE: Of the two technologies I have found Visuaide's (Trekker) for use with Freedom Scientific's Pac Mate, and Mike May's product from the Sendero Group for use with the Braille note, does anyone have preferences or experience with either of these products? Are there any other products like these that I havn't found?

MP: Those are the only two products so far. I don't believe the Trekker is ready for prime time although some of its features like its size are very attractive. It was supposed to work with the Pac Mate but then it turns out that it only works with the discontinued Pac Mate and not the new one. The current version does not do route finding but their next version is supposed to. You can only use it with one map, about the size of a county, at a time.
The BrailleNote GPS however has excellent route finding in either pedestrian or vehicular modes. You can create routes over hundreds of miles. Mike May and the lead programmer are blind as are many of the Sendero team. This is evident in the features they have put in the product.

BE: I'm sure the technology will improve, but will it improve as software upgrades to the PacMate, Braille Note type of format, or will it become a self contained handheld type unit, possibly even incorporated into cell phones (I'm sure there's possibilities, but does someone know of something current or in the works that might make these others obsolete in the near future?)

MP: The BrailleNote and other specialized systems provide a high level of usability that we don't find in commercial PDAs. I know we will see these units continue to improve. They will certainly not become obsolete.
GPS cell phones will evolve to be good ways of spot checking where you are relative to points of interest. They will not become a means of having location information narrated the way the BrailleNote GPS does.
I know Mike May has been involved in new product development for over 20 years and I am certain if there is a new and better way of getting location information, he will be at the forefront of that development.

GPS Adventure
By Matt Roberts

On Saturday, October 18, 2003 I had a very unusual adventure. The week before I got a special GPS navigation system for the blind. The night before I had walked the route from my apartment to a local mall by way of a bike path. I had programmed certain places in my GPS system, so I could use the bike path if I needed to go somewhere and didn't have time to schedule paratransit or just decided to walk somewhere to catch the bus.

I was supposed to meet a friend at the mall on this particular day, and since I didn't know where the local bus stop was in my apartment complex, I decided to walk down to the mall. I got up in plenty of time, and got ready to go. The GPS was ready and it was working very well. I started out and had difficulty finding the start of the bike path. I had programmed the start of the path in my GPS and was following it, but didn't know there was a pool of water. I heard water running, but thought it was just the sprinklers and didn't know that it was close to me. I walked right through it and got my shoes all wet. I wanted to go back and change my shoes and socks but didn't have time.

Finding the bike path, I thought I was home free. I was hoping to get to the mall in time to stop and get breakfast. Little did I realize that by rushing to get there would cause me to get off track. I programmed the GPS to guide me to the place where I was going to leave the bike path. Several times, I wandered in to the road. I knew this because when cars came by they were awfully close. ON the bike path, there is a cable that separates you from the cars and the other traffic on the street. Since the roads that run along side the bike path are not heavily traveled this is not a major concern. I had the GPS to guide me and knew I was off track.

The first time I got off track was at Sunrise and Truman Road. I didn't realize when crossing Sunrise you can easily get off track. I asked the GPS where I was and remembered that I had the route I'd programmed in case I needed to take the bus from Colonial drive to home. I was going to use this route if I got lost and needed to get back home so I could start over again. Bringing up the route, I followed it for a short way. The sound of some runners on the bike path brought me back to it. I got off track, at street crossings, but always was able to find my way back. At the last street crossing I got off the path and I was really nervous. How was I going to find the mall? I used the GPS program's route command and had it give me a route to the mall. I would have followed it except that I got back on the bike path by accident.

Without GPS, I would not have known where I was. Back on the bike path, I was going along at a good pace. All of a sudden, I felt a fence in front of me. "Oh, no did I screw up again?" I explored for a while, and found the bike path again. I remembered from exploring this area the night before that the fence should have been on both sides of the bike path, not in front of me. A gentleman walked up to me and tried to tell me where the bike path was located. I didn't need or want his help at that point, because I wanted to find it myself. I like to do this kind of stuff in case I get off track again, then I know where things are and can find my way easier. There is construction and businesses along the bike path, and the fence keeps you from getting off track. All I wanted to do was find the wooden bridge, which was my next landmark. The GPS was telling me that my destination was ahead, and I was heading the right direction. I kept going and found the wooden bridge, and then got to the place where I wanted to get off the bike path. After crossing Bennett Road, I had to find my way to the mall. I knew it was on Colonial Drive, so that was the next street I needed to find. An address close to the mall was my bank, so I programmed that in the GPS, and used that to get me in the right direction. I got on Colonial Drive and followed that road.

I walked for a while and found a bus. I decided if I was not at the mall yet, I would take the bus the rest of the way. I walked up to the door, and when the driver asked me where I was going I told him that I wanted to go to the mall. His reply was, "You're already at the mall." What? I'm already at the mall and didn't know it? I'd made it with only the GPS and my cane. It was a great accomplishment, which showed me I could get places that are unfamiliar to me.

Total Trip 4 Miles 1 Hour and 45 Min