Imagine a day out in St Albans - experiencing our 21st century vibrant city steeped in history – the sights, the smells and the sounds. There are many people living with sight loss in St Albans, Hertfordshire and beyond, for which taking a trip to shops or to visit a nearby tourist attraction can be stressful and often has to be a pre-planned activity. What if we could help to make this experience more one of independent discovery? Guide Dogs have partnered with Microsoft on the release of an iOS app, Soundscape. This app uses 3D audio clues to enrich ambient awareness and provide a new way to relate to your city. The experience relies on crowd-sourced information available on Open Street Map – however, often this data can be out-of-date or doesn’t give the detail you would like. St Albans Unlocked is a community-led project that aims to localise the Soundscape experience in 3 steps – plan, curate and launch – to get you to know your city like a local.
What we'll deliver:
- Organise a ‘Mapathon’ to train community volunteers to curate data in Open Street Map
- Engage volunteers in user testing the curated information
- Launch St Albans Unlocked to raise awareness and drive adoption
- Recruit and train volunteers to maintain and update the local data
Why it's a great idea:
Through curating St Albans Unlocked, we can demonstrate a more inclusive city that comes together and welcomes those with sight loss to come and discover, explore, visit independently and know it like a local. For those with sight loss it encourages more independent exploration; for retailers and business owners it focusses on updating their 'digital doorstep' and for the rest of us we can engage with our city as a ‘heads-up’ experience, discover places we didn’t know existed letting us look around and enjoy our audio overlay.
Steps to get it done:
- Mapathon and User Testing
- Launch Event
Financially: the purple pound is worth £265bn (DWP) annually and £12bn in tourism in the UK alone.
Government strategies on Smart Cities, Inclusive Transport Strategy and the UK Industrial Strategy all recommend putting inclusivity and accessibility at the heart of business, community and mobility – this is not a nice to have, it is an essential to have.
Given the lack of local authority budgets, communities will need to support the wellbeing of their citizens to lower the need for health and social care interaction and strain on services.