By: Martin Courcelles, Specialist, Web Accessibility and Adaptive Technology
One of the events that (CNIB) put on last year and that I unfortunately missed was Night Steps. Well, guess what, it's back. Not only is it back, but we're endeavoring to make it even better than ever. Not to be outdone, I am putting my own little touch to the event.
Seeing that I'm such a technology geek, I wanted to see how I could enhance it for the blind and vision impaired participants. First thing that came to mind was… GPS. So, little lights came on in my head, (it happens), and I approached the organizers; all under the veil of secrecy. Out I went with a co-worker to map out the terrain with 2 talking GPS solutions.
Being a proud Canadian at heart, I figured we must have the Trekker Breeze as a one of the talking GPS devices. This device is a standalone talking GPS which is fairly intuitive. Its battery life is around 8 hours; more than ample time to finish the route.
For more information on the trekker Breeze, you can visit The Humanware Page.
What about the iPhone users? Fear not, as I have covered that one as well. I utilized a fair priced app Called MyWay Classic. The process was quite similar.
You can find MyWay Classic here.
Please note, when using a GPS app with your iPhone, the battery will drain more quickly. I was able to walk both routes after having fully charged it.
What we essentially did was drop virtual breadcrumbs at various points on the route. There are 2 different routes available in the Greater Toronto Area on two different nights.
The First walk scheduled for Friday, August 16th, at 5:30 is located at the Lakeside Park in Mississauga. It is comprised of 9 way points. The main route is shaped as a figure 8. There is an extra smaller loop which is not marked within the Talking GPS option since it would confuse the devices. There will be marshals helping people along the difficult bits, so you needn't worry.
For more information on the Mississauga event and to register, visit Night Steps Mississauga.
The second walk will be held Saturday August 17th, starting at 5:30 at Coronation Park; just adjacent to the CNE grounds. This route is comprised of 9 waypoints, covering 2.5 KMs. You complete your 5KMs by retracing your steps.
For more information on the Toronto event and to register, visit Night Steps Toronto.
To download the Trekker breadcrumbs for both the Toronto and Mississauga events, enter on the Trekker Night Steps file found here.
To download the MyWay breadcrumbs, enter on MyWay Night Steps file found here.
Each waypoint will have a description; an audio one on the Trekker breeze and a text one in My Way Classic.
Please note, GPS devices are to be used for informational purposes only. It is up to the user to make educational judgments on path and the like.
Hopefully, we will see you at this wonderful event.