Exciting next chapters for accessible GPS and Maps

November 14, 2018

Sendero is pleased to announce our plan to sustain the navigation technology developed with funding from ten federal grants and user input over 19 years. Many of you have been on the journey with us to create independent travel tools since 1999 and even earlier at Arkenstone. One of our goals from the beginning was to make accessible navigation affordable and ubiquitous. The next chapter in that evolution will be with two organizations dedicated to independent travel, Aira and the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco.

Sendero is thrilled to announce that it is transferring its iOS mobile navigation products to the company with the latest independent access to information, Aira. Mike May says, “Charles LaPierre and I founded Sendero in 1999 to provide ourselves and all blind people independent access to location information. The challenge to do that is as relevant today as it was 19 years ago. Accessible GPS in conjunction with Aira and its AI assistant, Chloe, provide a synergistic solution to full navigation access.”

We would also like to announce that the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco will take over the Sendero Maps and GPS product. Sendero CTO, Charles LaPierre says, "I am thrilled that Sendero Maps and GPS products will continue under the stewardship of Aira and the Lighthouse. In 1993, when I developed the first accessible GPS back-pack prototype weighing 10 pounds, I said ‘in 10 years it will be the size of a Sony Walkman(TM), which will fit in your hand’. I am honored that my university project 25 years ago evolved into the ‘Swiss Army knife of life’ smartphone version of today.”

Atlas Speaks from Arkenstone was the first accessible digital map product in 1995. That turned into Sendero Maps and GPS, which the San Francisco Lighthouse is taking over to complement its T-Maps tactile maps product. There is no better way to learn a neighborhood than to have the detail of digital maps and the geographic overview of a tactile map.

Details of these product transitions will be forthcoming. All of your products will continue to work the way you expect. The mobile apps are slated for new features. All support inquiries can still be directed to as before.

The Sendero Maps software will remain the same but will now be available from the Lighthouse, which will also host the legacy BrailleNote and Braille Sense software. Other aspects of this transition will be announced by Aira and the Lighthouse as they come about.

Everyone from the Sendero Group team over the years thank all of you worldwide for being on this amazing journey, from back-pack to iPhone, from WayFun trips to conferences. Our motto from the beginning still rings true, “It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.”

About Sendero Developers of the first accessible GPS and talking map software. GPS products "Powered by Sendero" software provide access to detailed street and business location information. Sendero staff, most of whom are visually impaired, know from personal and professional experience that orientation and mobility skills and tools for blind folks are key to enjoyment and success in all walks of life.

About Aira Aira is a service that uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to connect blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. At the touch of a button, Aira delivers instant access to information, enhancing everyday efficiency, engagement, and independence.

To learn more, visit Aira.io

About Lighthouse Headquartered in San Francisco, California, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides education, training, advocacy, and community for blind individuals in California and around the world. Founded and based in San Francisco since 1902, the LightHouse is one of the largest and most established comprehensive blindness organizations in North America, with a wide variety of programs to suit a wide variety of needs, as well as a rich network of blindness advocates and professionals.

To learn more, visit Lighthouse