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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 December 2011 Issue  Volume 12  Number 12

Independent Travel Issues

The LookAround GPS from Sendero and the Ariadne GPS: Two iPhone Apps that Increase Independence for Blind and Visually Impaired Travelers

Ariadne and LookAround are two easy-to-use GPS iPhone apps that, when you are out and about, can give you your location, identify nearby streets, and provide compass directions. Both apps are good at location-finding, but remember that there is always a margin of error with satellite-based GPS software. Each of these two apps has its own unique features; both are definitely worth checking out.

Ariadne GPS from Giovanni Ciaffoni

With the Ariadne GPS app, created by independent developer Giovanni Ciaffoni, the buttons to find your location are at the bottom left corner of the screen. Activating the "Where Am I" button will give the street and address of your location. The address may be several feet from where you are standing. When the "Look Around" button is activated, a virtual map appears on the screen. Your current street is in the middle of the screen, the next cross street in the direction of travel is at the top, and the previous cross street is at the bottom. Occasionally the Ariadne had some difficulty accurately identifying the previous cross street. The app also can give directional headings.

The Ariadne is able to alert the user when approaching a previously designated location. The first time you take the app to a location, enter and save the information into the app and from that point on you will be notified whenever that location is approached.

You can customize how the app responds through the iPhone's settings menu. For more information about this app visit the Ariadne product website.

LookAround GPS from Sendero

On the LookAround GPS app from Sendero, the control buttons are on the left side of the screen. There is a "LookAround" button, a "Nearest Cross Street" button and a button to display the nearest five points of interest. You can program the app to say the location, including the address, nearest cross street, and compass direction by just shaking the phone in a figure eight pattern. LookAround does not say whether the nearest cross street is behind or ahead of you.

The LookAround can display the closest five points of interest in sixteen categories including ATMs, restaurants, and entertainment. Activating a selection will bring up additional information including the phone number of the listing. The category button is on the bottom right of the screen. To learn more about this app, visit the Sendero's website.

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