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LightHouse will take over as distributor of Sendero Map and GPS products

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco is proud to announce its takeover as the manager and distributor of Sendero Group-manufactured GPS products. The LightHouse will run Sendero Maps and Sendero’s GPS product, which will continue to function normally.

Sendero’s PC Maps and GPS serve the blind and visually impaired community by providing detailed information to explore rural roads or city streets, intersection-by-intersection. The software allows users to record personal points of interest, hear their direction of travel, track distance travelled and collaborate with teachers, friends or family using integrated visual maps.

Sendero has been the frontrunner in accessible GPS technology since Founder Mike May and Chief Technology Officer Charles LaPierre launched the first accessible digital GPS map in 1995 at Arkenstone, their former travel technology company. That product turned into the forward-thinking, personal computer-based Sendero Maps and GPS, which the San Francisco LightHouse will now manage, in conjunction with its Tactile Maps Automated Production (TMAP).

This partnership will yield exciting new technological developments and retain Sendero’s existing products and functionalities. The Sendero mobile apps are slated for new features, and the Sendero Maps software will remain the same. LightHouse will also host the legacy BrailleNote and Braille Sense software, which were formerly available through Sendero.

To complement the PC-based products hosted by LightHouse, Sendero also announced that it is turning over its mobile navigation products to the subscription-based sighted assistance company Aira, who is acquiring Sendero’s iOS products for integration in their service.

Sendero’s GPS products will complement TMAP’s progressive approach to on-demand maps with their easy-to-use technology. There is no better way to learn a neighborhood than to pair the detail of digital maps with the spatial, geographic overview of a tactile map.

Sendero CTO, Charles LaPierre says, “I am thrilled that Sendero Maps and GPS products will continue under the stewardship of Aira and the LightHouse. In 1993, when I developed the first accessible GPS backpack prototype weighing 10 pounds, I said ‘In 10 years it will be the size of a Sony Walkman (TM), which will fit in your hand’. I am honored that my university project 25 years ago evolved into the ‘Swiss Army knife of life’ smartphone version of today.”

Under LightHouse superintendence in San Francisco, we hope to see Sendero products and services expand to serve more blind and visually impaired people worldwide — particularly with the highly anticipated launch of our online Adaptations Store later this year.

Learn and Teach Tactile Map Reading Skills with our New Training Guides

Tactile Maps Training Book Now Available from the Adaptations Store
At LightHouse for the Blind in San Francisco, we are a leading provider of tactile maps – taking visual or graphical information and conveying it through raised line and textural media, making it possible to access the same information as others, without your eyes.

To fully benefit from these maps, though, one must understand “mental mapping.” The ability to create mental maps in your head comes to many naturally, but like most valuable pursuits, requires practice and teaching. To that end we’ve developed the Tactile Maps Training Book, built on best practices and tailored around our maps, which serves as a teaching aid to help teachers unlock their student’s potential.

Start in the Classroom and Move to the Real World
Through hands-on exercises and activities, students will use these books to learn strategies for reading tactile graphics and understanding our incredibly informative maps. We provide an orientation to tactile map symbols, symbol recognition exercises and a variety of exercises around transit, campus and floor plan maps.

Also available, the Tactile Maps Training Book: Audio Supplement. Intended for use with any of the Audio-Tactile Maps created by the LightHouse, this guide introduces readers to the Smartpen – how it works and how to use it, followed by a series of map exercises.

Tactile Maps Training Book
Large print and braille, 53 pages: $50.00

Tactile Maps Training Book: Audio Supplement
Large print and braille (Smartpen enabled), 14 pages: $25.00

To Order: Contact the Adaptations store at 1-888-400-8933 or visit us at 214 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco.

If you are interested in tactile maps or graphics, please contact Access to Information Services today at MADLab@lighthouse-sf.org.