OpenStreetMap lights up the world for blind users with sound

getting around

Erik Schlegel 30min

This talk was transcribed.

Microsoft has partnered with the Guide Dog Association to improve independent mobility and navigation for the visually impaired using OpenStreetMap and 3D Audio. Microsoft is building a mobile app using a custom-made 3D audio headset and remote control to guide users throughout their journeys. This sound-based technology has the potential to improve the way people experience everyday life through audio cues for nearby points of interest, along with 3D spatial audio pings to help keep the user on the right path.

My talk will dig into our two uses of OpenStreetMap in this project: 1) how we use accessibility content from OpenStreetMap to empower blind users with confidence when they’re traveling in an urban environment and 2) how we are using Mapzen and Elasticsearch to index and scale the availability of our cloud-based service platform used to navigate blind user and the open source project we created to share this with the community.