GPS Technologies Enable an Accessible World

Photo: WeWALK

The WeWALK cane attachment and app was developed in partnership with Microsoft and Imperial College London. (Image: WeWALK)

Some may think of GPS technology as a convenience when driving or hiking, but for most, GPS is essential. navigation devices; Through adaptive software and mobility aids, GPS technology helps people with hearing loss; It has become an integral part of efforts to support people who are deaf or visually impaired.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 2.2 billion people are living with vision impairment, and 430 million are living with hearing impairment. For these millions of people, Everyday tasks like navigating a new city or using public transportation can be a challenge. GPS technology gives people the freedom they need to face these challenges with confidence.



GPS technology in handheld navigation devices and adaptive software helps individuals perform daily tasks. Accessibility features that rely on GPS technology can guide users where to turn and where to go; Topography It can detail the surroundings and even the relevant bus or metro stops along the way. Vibrating signals complement audio directions to help users navigate busy areas and intersections, regardless of sight or hearing ability. These accessibility features leverage the ease and accuracy of GPS navigation technology to make new places more accessible to people with vision and hearing loss.

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Through innovative technologies and accessibility features, GPS enables users to explore their surroundings. The “Nearby Me” feature in many GPS applications shows nearby businesses, Street names and transportation options will be read aloud. These resources allow people with hearing or vision loss to explore their communities and complete daily tasks without worry. Interactive applications let users move their finger across a screen, and the device reads out street names and provides directions, helping users find their way in unknown places. This ensures users are confident they have all the information they need to explore new places on their own.

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In addition to helping individuals with vision and hearing loss navigate their surroundings; GPS technology also improves safety and ensures that individuals can be quickly located in the event of an emergency. for example, Location tracking apps allow users to share their exact location with family and caregivers, ensuring security and enhancing individual autonomy. If an emergency occurs, GPS technology allows emergency services to quickly and accurately locate individuals and provide care.

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From route accuracy to safety monitoring; The GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA) is proud to support the role of GPS technology in creating a safer and more accessible world for people with hearing loss or vision loss. Innovations in GPS technology, such as real-time location information and directional signaling, are changing the field of accessible technology. GPSIA will continue to advocate for policies that promote and support the use of GPS in this area and encourage individuals to lead confident and independent lives.


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