Intel, through its Responsible, Inclusive, Sustainable, and Enabled (RISE) Initiative has recently announced a collaboration with GoodMaps to improve indoor navigation for people who are blind or have low vision. This will help in navigating indoor spaces like shopping centres and campuses.
Traditional mapping technology uses GPS, and through Google Maps there have been many innovations in the accessibility of mapping technology. However, GPS is generally limited to outdoor use, and as such different technologies must be used for indoor mapping, in this case, LiDAR.
LiDAR is a remote sensing technology used to measure distances through lasers and light. Using a LiDAR scan of an area, GoodMaps creates 3D and 2D layouts of buildings, these of which are labelled to highlight important information to the user, such as drink-fountains. These maps are then uploaded to the GoodMaps Explore app and presented in an accessible way to people who are blind or have low vision.
With this app, a user can then walk around an area with their phone, which will state what is in front of them and how far it is. In a shopping centre, the GoodMaps Explore app would read out what shops are nearby, and how to move around the shopping centre in order to reach a specific direction.
According to the project website, Intel’s RISE initiative aims to “create a more responsible, inclusive, and sustainable world enabled through technology.” The collaboration between Intel and GoodMaps will lead to increased accuracy and efficiency of this technology by combining it with their robot-based, Intel-Labs.
It has not been confirmed as to when the program will be available outside of the US, however the GoodMaps app is available from the App Store and Google Play.
For more information, visit the GoodMaps website.