Posts Tagged Google Maps
People with vision impairment who are also Google Maps users are in for a nice surprise! Starting October 10, which was also World Sight Day, Google announced a new update to Google Maps that will provide more detailed voice guidance and verbal announcements while walking from point A to point B.
This feature will provide a lot more confidence to blind people while navigating busy streets and areas. While walking, Google Maps will proactively tell the user if they are on the correct route, the direction the person is walking in, distance from the next turn, etc. If a person misses their turn, Google Maps will announce that it is re-routing the person. Through this detailed voice guidance, people with vision impairment can not only navigate in a “screen free” way with ease, they can also explore places they have not been to before.
Currently, this feature is rolled out in the US and Japan in English and Japanese respectively on iOS and Android. Roll out for other languages is on the way.
Watch the following video to learn more about voice guidance in maps.
Detailed voice guidance can be turned on by going to Settings, Navigation (under walking Options)
Back in December, Google finally added accessibility details to Maps. It was a long awaited addition, but an extremely welcome one for the more than three million people in the U.S. who require wheelchair accessibility. As we noted at the time, however, the available information still left a lot to be desired. Maps has currently collected accessibility data for almost seven million places, but even with databases like Wheelmap, there were still some pretty big gaps across the country.
This week, Google’s looking to speed the process up a bit by crowdsourcing the dataset. Now Android users can open up Google Maps and enter that information for a location themselves. The relevant information is located under the “Accessibility” tab in “Your Contributions.” From there, users can add information about whether a spot has a wheelchair accessible entrance, elevator, restroom and more.
Once added, that information will be available through Google Maps and search on mobile and the desktop in the Accessibility section of a location’s description. That information is viewable on all platforms, though Google apparently doesn’t have a timeline for when desktop and iOS users will be able to contribute to the growing database.
As we noted in our earlier post, the information continues to extremely important for people who rely on wheelchairs to get around. Despite the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires access for new buildings, those constructed before its 1993 aren’t required to adhere to the same standards, meaning access can often be a bit of a crapshoot for older locations — a fact that those of us who don’t have the same sort of accessibility issues can too often take for granted.