Out of New York’s 12,000 intersections, less than 100 offer navigation tools to help visually impaired residents cross safely. Audible sign technology is available but the process of installing it across cities is slow — most only have it at about 10 percent of crossings. Offering an alternative, SeeLight is a crowdsourced app that makes all the necessary information about urban crossings available to blind and visually impaired users.
The app collates data from government agencies and uses crowdsourced information to fill in the existing gap. Users can help by timing the length of any walk signal and recording the direction of the crossing using the app, which will then store that information along with a GPS tag. They can also add a brief description, noting whether the intersection has tactile paving or a pedestrian crossing light. When a visually impaired person approaches a crossing, they can then use the app to assist them through voice navigation.
SeeLight is not the first app to crowdsource accessibility data — we recently wrote about AXS Map, which collects user reviews about how accessible places around the world are for users in wheelchairs. SeeLight is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo to finance improvements to the current app, which is available now for free. What other data could be pooled in this way?