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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 17 June 2021

Susanne Zimmermann-Janschitz, Simon Landauer, Sebastian Drexel and Jana Obermeier

The study aims to promote independent mobility for persons with visual impairment or legal blindness (VIB) by developing a Web-based wayfinding application using geographic…

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to promote independent mobility for persons with visual impairment or legal blindness (VIB) by developing a Web-based wayfinding application using geographic information systems (GIS). While the literature mainly focuses on technical devices presenting results for wayfinding, a lack of integration of user needs is identified. The inclusive, participative developed application offers step-by-step directions for pre-trip planning through an accessible user interface.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a semi-automated approach to extract a pedestrian routing network data set based on open government data and field survey. User profiles calculate different routes using a weighting scheme for landmarks, orientation hints, infrastructure of crossings and sidewalks. The adoption of ArcGIS Web AppBuilder widgets allows access of the user interface additionally through keyboard-only navigation and therefore screen-reader capability.

Findings

GIS offers a powerful tool to design network analysis for persons with VIB. The routing algorithm accesses different user profiles, returning individualized turn-by-turn directions. The complex set of attributes, including shorelines, landmarks and barriers, can be integrated by semi-automated processes.

Practical implications

The paper illustrates the benefit of GIS applications for wayfinding of persons with VIB to raise self-determination and independence.

Originality/value

A ubiquitous pedestrian sidewalk network for a medium-size city comprises a novelty, as research has mainly focused on small areas. The integration of shorelines next to a various number of hints, landmarks and potential barriers through semi-automated processes allows reproducibility and transferability of the model to other cities.

Details

Journal of Enabling Technologies, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6263

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 12 April 2018

Sebastian Drexel, Susanne Zimmermann-Janschitz and Robert J. Koester

A search and rescue incident is ultimately all about the location of the missing person; hence, geotechnical tools are critical in providing assistance to search planners. One…

1487

Abstract

Purpose

A search and rescue incident is ultimately all about the location of the missing person; hence, geotechnical tools are critical in providing assistance to search planners. One critical role of Geographic Information Systems (GISs) is to define the boundaries that define the search area. The literature mostly focuses on ring- and area-based methods but lacks a linear/network approach. The purpose of this paper is to present a novel network approach that will benefit search planners by saving time, requires less data layers and provides better results.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper compares two existing models (Ring Model, Travel Time Cost Surface Model (TTCSM)) against a new network model (Travel Time Network Model) by using a case study from a mountainous area in Austria. Newest data from the International Search and Rescue Incident Database are used for all three models. Advantages and disadvantages of each model are evaluated.

Findings

Network analyses offer a fruitful alternative to the Ring Model and the TTCSM for estimating search areas, especially for regions with comprehensive trail/road networks. Furthermore, only few basic data are needed for quick calculation.

Practical implications

The paper supports GIS network analyses for wildland search and rescue operations to raise the survival chances of missing persons due to optimizing search area estimation.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates the value of the novel network approach, which requires fewer GIS layers and less time to generate a solution. Furthermore, the paper provides a comparison between all three potential models.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

Keywords

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