Tech-Ease/ Get Together with Technology
Regina Drop-In Meeting
February 24, 2018
Sponsored by Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN),
Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
Regina Public Library
Assistive Technology Peer Support by and for people who are blind/low vision
In Attendance Feb 24, 2018: 18 participants, Amber, Michelle, Camille, Lori, Donna, Darlene, Anna, Barry, Wes, Jerome, Tracy & Mitch, Kari, Linda & Blaine
Today we Talked about Ways to Get There
An app, paid or non-paid, for iPhone. It works off FourSquare (Swarm) maps as well as Apple maps. It helps people with no or partial sight navigate their environment by announcing places nearby as you walk, the places are announced within feet of your location so it is very well triangulated.
There are beacons that can be set up in building that have specific to BlindSquare information loaded on them by the building owner that provide the BlindSquare user additional information. For example, when you walk into the CNIB in Regina the beacon tells you have entered CNIB and the reception desk is to your left and seating is to your right. You can have multiple beacons in a space.
There are also BlindSquare specific QR codes you can put on doors to tell you about who or what is in that room. These can be scanned with the reader installed within the app.
BlindSquare has a free and paid version, the free version works with BlindSquare Events, the paid version works with maps and announces businesses, points of interest, etc as you walk. With Events it just announces information from beacons and lets you scan QR codes. The CNIB in Regina is set up as an event so you can go there and see how beacons work in real life.
The library is hoping to get beacons soon. Other places that often have beacons are places like malls, stadiums, downtowns, government buildings, etc.
Example of how it works:
Download BlindSquare here:
Google maps comes installed on all Android devices, it can be downloaded on iPhones. It is a map program. It can help you navigate your environment by driving, walking, cycling or taking transit. It is rather accurate in it’s routes and finds the best routes for pedestrians or the fastest transit routes when those are chosen.
It is a very visual map but it does work well with Talk Back (Voice Over for Android). It shows locations and puts pins on the map to identify them. You can switch the view to satellite or street view for more information if you are partially sighted.
It does have voice navigation as a built-in option.
It works with Regina Transit and is very accurate.
Google Maps Tutorial (this is a sighted person explaining so apologies for no DVS):
Google Maps explained:
Download Google Maps for iPhone here;
An app for transit, it shows you the best routes for buses, it tells you when your bus will arrive (not GPS enabled so pretty accurate but not perfect). It will tell you how many stops until your stop and will tell you when to get off the bus. It also tells you how to walk to the place you are going from the bus stops or from where you are to the bus stops. It gives you multiple route options if multiple option exist. Works well with Voice Over & Talk Back.
Moovit Tutorial (sighted person explaining so apologies for no DVS):
Download Moovit for iOS:
Download Moovit for Android:
(literally copied from description in app store as I have never used it)
Nearby Explorer is a full featured GPS app designed for use by people who are blind. Instead of just providing directions, it describes the environment in ways comparable to reading signage or observing road characteristics.
It uses onboard maps, so a data connection is not required, but if you have one, Nearby Explorer supplements the on board map data with crowd collected locations from Foursquare or Google Places. It includes complete maps for the United States and Canada which contain millions of points of interest. The onboard maps are over 4GB in size, so be sure the device you plan to use has enough available space before purchasing.
Nearby Explorer works with any device running iOS version 9 or later, but if the device does not contain its own GPS receiver, like most iPads and iPods, you must use an external GPS receiver. All iPhones contain GPS receivers.
Nearby Explorer works by letting you select from several different location related options about what to announce as you move. These include both typical items like street name and address and specialized options like approaching streets, intersection configurations, and nearby places and the distance and direction to them. (All announcements are optional.) All of this information is shown on the home screen and is available at any time, but typical use is to adjust the level of announcements, then lock the screen and put the device away. This keeps both hands free and let’s your preferred voice speak the characteristics of the environment as you move.
You may also use the devices position and orientation to obtain additional targeted details such as pointing the end of the device to scan for businesses, even in a moving vehicle, or tilting it vertically to function as a compass, including a listing of streets in the indicated direction. This all works with the device locked, so one need not fuss with the touch screen while moving. You may even mark a point, then use the position of the device to get haptic feedback about that point’s location.
Nearby Explorer includes a transit feature that provides detailed mass transit schedules for over 60 metropolitan areas in the U. S. and Canada. It treats transit stops just like favorites and points of interest by announcing their name and relative position as you move, but in addition, transit stops add next vehicle stop time, direction of travel, and route name to the announcements. You can use the transit schedules to look up times or even follow a route.
You may virtually move to any area in the U.S. or Canada and explore the road network, search, or use the transit maps for that area.
For complete details about Nearby Explorer, see http://tech.aph.org/ne
Download Nearby Explorer:
City of Regina has a transit line at 306-777-RIDE you can call to find out what bus to take or when your bus it going to arrive.
Trekker Breeze/Victor Trek:
Jerome was explaining how his Trekker Breeze works.
There is a device that goes on your shoulder (speaker) and another that clips to you belt (GPS & controller). You program in where you wan to go using the alpha-numeric keypad on the controller and it lets you plan a route. You can save favourite routes.
It announces streets/intersections as you get to them, 25 feet before. When you plan a route is saved it rings bell 25 feet before you reach your location.
You program in by addresses, not by GPS coordinates. You can put in waypoints and name them for future use. Once your route is entered you can preview in simulation mode so you have an idea of where you are going.
The city had an install of all the bus routes that added them as waypoints to the Trekker, but it hasn’t been updated in a few years.
It uses NavTech maps.
The new Trek can program in virtual routes. It knows the names of places. It can look around you and tell you points of interest around. It uses TomTom maps
The new Trek is also a Victor Stream so you can get your podcasts, e-books, internet radio, streaming things on it as well.
Cab Companies in Regina:
People have had varying degrees of luck with all these companies for accessibility, guide dog access and ease of use.
- Co-OP Cabs & Regina Cabs are run by the same company apparently
- Capital Cabs
- Premiere Cabs, which also may be part of Regina Cabs
Advocacy with Cab Companies’ – It is always important that you report troubles with any of the companies to dispatch and if you don’t feel you are being heard take your complaints higher up to managers or owners of companies and if you still don’t feel heard to go Human Rights and file a complaint.
Very hard for a partially sighted or blind person to get permission to use unless they have another disability.
Your doctor needs to fill out a form to try to get access. The form is available on the City of Regina Website as well as the rules and conditions of use:
There are some people who have seasonal or special circumstance passes to ParaTransit.
Will be coming to Regina in the future. It is a ride share program. You can pay to have a ride by yourself or pay less to ride share with others going to similar destinations. It is all controlled by an app.
CNIB is working with the government across Canada to ensure that Uber & Lyft are accessible for guide dog users and person who are blind or partially sighted.
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