GoodMaps Explore provides on-demand, reactive mobile navigation for people who are blind or visually impaired, and developers are working to tackle a region that Google Maps has long ignored: indoor spaces.
In outdoor mode, GoodMaps Explore reads aloud cardinal directions, streets and points of interest depending on where the user’s mobile device is pointing at any given time. With a shake of the phone, users can hear a snapshot of their current location and direction, and also gather information about the nearest rooms, streets, businesses and landmarks.
While outdoor mode functions in areas covered by traditional mapping technology, indoor mode is more limited. Using LiDAR, developers have mapped the indoors of a handful of buildings in Huntington, West Virginia, and these spaces are fully explorable via the app, including step-by-step navigation to selected destinations. GoodMaps Explore offers detailed information about these indoor areas, describing individual rooms, and features like water fountains and information desks.
“Indoor digital maps play a fundamental role in making spaces more accessible, safe and productive,” GoodMaps founder and CEO Jose Gaztambide said in a CES 2021 presentation.
Since September 2020, developers have mapped the Cabell-Wayne Association for the Blind, Cabell County Public Library, Phil Cline Center of the Huntington YMCA, and Brad D. Smith Business Incubator in Huntington. GoodMaps Explore is available on iOS and it just launched on Android, and both versions are free. It’s developed by American Printing House and GoodMaps.