Indoor Wayfinding with Access Explorer from American Printing House for the Blind: One Step Forward | Accessworld | American Foundation for the Blind

Bill Holton

Remember the first time you went to the airport alone? Somehow you made it to the ticket counter, where they summoned a helpful assistant who gave you a choice: Ride in a wheelchair to your gate, despite the fact that you have two perfectly operational feet, or ride on the “ding-ding” machine, traveling approximately two miles an hour past the smells of coffee, Cinnabon’s, and all sorts of other treats you can’t stop to enjoy. And heaven forbid you should have to use the restroom.

These days, using GPS navigation and one of many accessible wayfinding apps, it’s not only possible but relatively easy to find and catch a bus or rideshare downtown, reorient yourself, and use a cane or guide dog to make your way to the front steps of City Hall, the local science museum, or the airport.

Of course all of this accessible navigation usually ends at the front door of your destination, and you either have to memorize ahead of time the route you need to take or ask for help getting around inside. GPS signals don’t travel well inside buildings and, even if they did, without adequate mapping the signals are all but worthless.

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