Sunday, July 10, 2011

Is This Where I Get Off? You Are Never Alone If You iPhone While Navigating the City

STOP ©1997 Michael O'Morah All Rights Reserved.
When I leave the house it is still dark and I have 3 Miles to walk to my Bus Stop. When there is fog or heavy snow I get very disoriented as would anyone when you can see no discernible landmarks. This sinking lost feeling is so much more heartfelt when you are at the mercy of a bus schedule and you are alone.  When I am riding the bus in bad weather the windows are dirtied with grimy film obscuring the view so much it's like riding in a box. In such conditions and in the Dark it is almost impossible for the Vision impaired or Blind to determine location or how soon your stop will be. Timing your route helps but traffic will always throw of your time of arrival. Fortunately the iPhone and iPad have apps to help in these circumstances. There are two great apps that IK can recommend as Low Vison Friendly and Blind Friendly Navigation tools. First there is Sendaro GPS LookAround, from Sendero Group, LLC. this app offers LookAround prompts will identify your current location. Sendero's menus are in English with the most reliable mapping data in the United States and Western Europe. Sendero costs $4.99 and is compatible with iPhone 3gs and higher ONLY. Requires iOS 4.2 or later. Secondly Ariadne GPS, by Giovanni Ciaffoni, offers voiceover friendly location services, alerts you to a certain destination arrival and can identify street numbers and cross streets and more. Ariadne offers speech in many  Languages: English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Ariadne is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and also Requires iOS 3.2 or later. The Cost of Ariadne is a $3.99 and personally I like the look and feel a bit better than Sendero but, that's just my taste. I also use Apple's Maps iPhone app for when I just need a quick look at my current location and the Current Location Pin is VoiceOver compatible. Further While Inrix Traffic by Inrix Inc. will read out live traffic alerts such as construction, road hazrds etc. Inrix Traffic does not offer Voiceover Friendly Location alerts. However the buttons all Speak out their use as you touch them and all text reads out loud just fine. So if you are not severely Vision Impaired and want a good co-pilot app for a long journey Inrix Traffic might prove useful to you. Inrix Traffic is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and requires iOS 3.1 or later. Inrix also offers several Languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish and it can even speak Alerts in Hillbilly! There are many other GPS and Mapping apps available but these are what I find most useful when I am navigating from my home to places near or far and unknown. I could have used Sendero or Ariadne when I was in New York City visiting all the art galleries. While I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of strangers yet, I asked them to read the street signs to determine my whereabouts; I felt a little guilty knowing many of them were in a hurry. Now all I need is a proximity alert to keep me from bashing my knee on park benches and smacking my head on modern art sculptures as I make my way to my bus stop once more. For now all who iPhone or iPad are not Lost

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