Google is helping this school build a 'Waze' for the blind

Bus stop sign in the foreground. In the distance, Joann Becker walks toward the stop.

Joann Becker, Perkins Solutions Technology Specialist, surfaced the challenge of precisely navigating to a bus stop. GPS leaves a frustrating 30 foot gap between the pedestrian and her goal.

April 13, 2016

Like many Bostonians, Joann Becker uses her smartphone to find the nearest bus stop. Unfortunately, GPS is only accurate give or take 30-feet, and unlike most people, Becker can't look up to see exactly where the bus is going to stop. Becker is blind.

Her employer, the Perkins School for the Blind, is building an app that crowdsources micro-location information. It's starting with local bus stops but developers think it can eventually help address the "last 30-feet" problem faced by visually impaired commuters all over the world.

Now the Perkins School is getting a little help, and $750,000, from a technology company that knows a thing or two about mapping: Google.

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