UAA launching accessible wayfinding system; campus mapping to occur July 26-28

by Michelle Saport  |   

Using a grant awarded from the University Technology Council, Disability Support Services (DSS) has researched, developed and initiated the installation of an Accessible Wayfinding and Campus Navigation System (AWCNS). While designed primarily for Blind/Visually Impaired (BVI) individuals, this new system will benefit all campus visitors.

Imagine Google Maps, but for navigating between classes and buildings. This AWCNS consists of a free app and website accessible to the public that gives real-time, audio feedback to the user regarding their location, as well as any potential hazards they could encounter en route. Bluetooth beacons are scheduled to be installed around campus to get this system up-and-running. The maps accompanying the app use high-contrast colors and large print to further aid users. In addition to the audio feedback and low-vision maps, tactile maps will also be installed around campus in key locations. Currently, the app is available for iOS users, and is coming soon for Android users.

In alignment with UAA 2020 goals, UAA will be leading the nation in implementing inclusive, innovative technology - changing the way UAA is "seen" - both here at home and in the national community.

Not only is this a huge advancement for the BVI community (and anyone else who needs assistance navigating campus), but UAA will be setting a new standard for universities. Few educational institutions have this type of technology, and UAA will be the first to implement an AWCNS of this scale.

Mapping for the new system will take place on UAA's Main Campus July 26-28. The mapping crew will be recording video, taking measurements and more to create this new system. During the process, expect to see the mapping team anywhere and everywhere on the Anchorage campus.

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