The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-1/W5
10 Dec 2015
 | 10 Dec 2015


F. Barati and M. R. Delavar

Keywords: The Blind, Wayfinding, Mobile sensor, ultrasonic sensor, Geospatial Information System, GPS

Abstract. The blind and visually impaired people are facing a number of challenges in their daily life. One of the major challenges is finding their way both indoor and outdoor. For this reason, routing and navigation independently, especially in urban areas are important for the blind. Most of the blind undertake route finding and navigation with the help of a guide. In addition, other tools such as a cane, guide dog or electronic aids are used by the blind. However, in some cases these aids are not efficient enough in a wayfinding around obstacles and dangerous areas for the blind. As a result, the need to develop effective methods as decision support using a non-visual media is leading to improve quality of life for the blind through their increased mobility and independence. In this study, we designed and implemented an outdoor mobile sensor-based wayfinding system for the blind. The objectives of this study are to guide the blind for the obstacle recognition and the design and implementation of a wayfinding and navigation mobile sensor system for them.

In this study an ultrasonic sensor is used to detect obstacles and GPS is employed for positioning and navigation in the wayfinding. This type of ultrasonic sensor measures the interval between sending waves and receiving the echo signals with respect to the speed of sound in the environment to estimate the distance to the obstacles. In this study the coordinates and characteristics of all the obstacles in the study area are already stored in a GIS database. All of these obstacles were labeled on the map. The ultrasonic sensor designed and constructed in this study has the ability to detect the obstacles in a distance of 2cm to 400cm. The implementation and the results obtained from the interview of a number of blind persons who employed the sensor verified that the designed mobile sensor system for wayfinding was very satisfactory.