Accessible Navigation

Mike May and Charles LaPierre began working on the first accessible GPS prototype at Arkenstone in 1994. It was called Strider and was terminated in 1997. A related talking map product called Atlas was released for the PC in 1995 and was sold through 2001. Sendero released the first accessible GPS called, GPS-Talk for the PC in 2000. A year later, Sendero teamed up with Humanware with the first accessible GPS on a PDA, the BrailleNote. That product has continued to evolve as other products joined the market Sendero was creating.

After over a decade of experience, Sendero expanded from the BrailleNote to three other platforms with its Software Development Kit (SDK). HIMS from Korea adopted this SDK for their Braille Sense and Voice Sense PDAs with a product called Sense Nav. Freedom Scientific adopted this SDK for their PacMate with a product called StreetTalk VIP GPS (discontinued). Code Factory, who makes a screen reader for mobile phones and Windows PDAs, worked with Sendero to create Mobile Geo, released in September 2008.

In 2010, Sendero expanded again on their available platforms and added Sendero Maps for the PC, for virtual exploration and Sendero LookAround GPS app for the iPhone and Android. In 2013, Sendero released a full turn-by-turn GPS app for the iPhone, The Seeing Eye GPS, for the U.S. and Canada, RNIB Navigator for the U.K. and Ireland, and Guide Dogs GPS for Australia.

In addition to the Sendero based GPS products there is one stand-alone Trekker product from HumanWare and a GPS app for Android and iDevices from APH called Nearby Explorer. The great thing for blind people is that there are options to fit a variety of needs and wayfinding situations.

Accessible GPS Systems

Accessible Navigation Smartphone Apps

Indoor Navigation

  • LoudSteps integrated into Sendero iPhone GPS
  • BlindSquare BPS stands for BlindSquare Beacon Positioning System. It is an indoor navigation system that can be used with BlindSquare.
  • LowViz Guide
  • Radius Networks' WikiBeacon an online map aggregating iBeacon locations across the globe. Website is not screen reader accessible, but lists over 400,000 beacons worldwide.
  • Wayfindr is a non-profit organization, who is creating a benchmark in standards for digital wayfinding on mobile devices.

Accessible Public Transportation Apps

Accessible Museum Guide Apps

AFB AccessWorld Article: Access to Museums and Parks for Patrons who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Partially Accessible GPS Products