St Albans crowdfunder to unlock city for visually impaired

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 October 2018

St Peters Street

St Peters Street

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A crowdfunder needs investors to develop an app which helps visually impaired people around the landmarks of the city.

St Albans Unlocked is looking for £20,660 to map St Albans for Soundscape, an iOS app which uses audio cues to locate nearby landmarks, shops and attractions.

It has already raised nearly £8,000 through seven backers.

Guide Dogs and Microsoft, who partnered to build the app, aim to “enrich ambient awareness” without replacing traditional navigation methods.

The enhanced map pinpoints landmarks that someone who is visually impaired may not initially notice.

It relies on information from free Wiki Open Street Map which is often out-of-date or patchy - St Albans Unlocked need money to make sure the information is at a good standard.

Linda Chandler and Amanda Derrick started the crowdfunder about a month ago and there are currently less than 30 days left to pledge.

They said: “Through curating St Albans Unlocked, we can demonstrate a more inclusive city that comes together and welcomes those with sight loss to come and discover, explore, visit independently and know it like a local.

“For those with sight loss it encourages more independent exploration; for retailers and business owners it focuses on updating their ‘digital doorstep’ and for the rest of us we can engage with our city as a ‘heads-up’ experience, discover places we didn’t know existed letting us look around and enjoy our audio overlay.”

The money will be used to organise a mapathon to train volunteers in Open Street Map, user test the information, and recruit volunteers to maintain the local data going forward.

To pledge towards the project, visit www.spacehive.com/st-albans-unlocked

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