Google Maps launches a new feature which enables the visually impaired to navigate

Google Maps launches a new feature which enables the visually impaired to navigate

Navigating from place to place is very easy and with the help of maps it is even more easier.
But what about the visually impaired? They are usually comfortable in travelling places they do on everyday basis. But when they have to travel to a new place, things get really complicated and they can’t travel without proper assistance.
All thanks to Google Maps for introducing a new feature for its visually impaired users.
On World Sight Day, the Google Maps team announced the launch of an additional feature that gives a very detailed voice guidance to those who can’t rely on their vision. 

Img Credit: Google Maps

The driving force behind the establishment of the feature was Wakana Sugiyama, a Tokyo-based business analyst at Google who is legally blind and uses a walking cane to move around. The daily route from home to office was comfortable for her – but venturing some place new and unfamiliar was terrifying.

“Some of my most pressing concerns include knowing if I’m going the right way or if a street is safe to cross,” she said. “I also frequently wonder if I missed a turn, if I’m on the correct side of the street at the right time, and of course, whether I’ve reached my destination, or if I’ve already passed it.”

People in U.S and Japan can easily access to this feature. It is available for both iOS and android users

To activate the feature users can go to the Google Maps settings and select “Navigation.” At the bottom of the list will be the option to enable “Detailed voice guidance,” beneath the “Walking options” heading.The app will provide periodic announcements, alerts, warnings and provide a compass heading as well.

“This may not sound extraordinary to those with sight, but for people who are blind or have low vision, this can help us explore new and unfamiliar places,” Sugiyama wrote in a blog post. 

“Detailed voice guidance directions are based on the same digital map of the world as our other directions, but we’ve re-tuned them to be optimized for users with vision impairment,” said Bill Steinmetz, a software engineer at Google Maps. 

Although the feature is only available in English in the U.S and in Japanese in Japan, but the day is not far away when we can actually use the feature in every corner of the world. The company says support for more languages and countries is “on the way.”