Indoor Maps Publications

Traveling more Independently: A Study on the Diverse Needs and Challenges of People with Visual or Mobility Impairments in Unfamiliar Indoor Environments

Karin Müller, Christin Engel, Claudia Loitsch, Rainer Stiefelhagen (2022).
ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, (TACCESS) February 2022

Abstract: It is much more difficult for people with visual or mobility impairments to prepare for a trip or visit unfamiliar places than it is for people without disabilities. In addition to the usual travel arrangements, one needs to know if the various parts of the travel chain are accessible. To the best of our knowledge, there is no previous work that examines in depth travel behavior for indoor environments for both trip planning and execution, highlighting the special needs of people with low vision, blindness, or mobility impairments (MIs). In this article, we present a survey of 125 participants with blindness, low vision, and MIs. We investigate how mobile
they are, what strategies they use to prepare a journey to an unknown building, how they orient themselves there, and what materials they use. For all three groups, our results provide insights into the problem space of the specific information needs when planning and executing a trip. We found that most of our participants have specific mobility problems depending on their disability. Feedback from the participants reveals that there is a large information gap, especially for orientation in buildings, regarding availability of high-quality digital, tactile, and printable indoor maps; accessibility of buildings; and mobility supporting systems. In particular, there is a lack of available and high-quality indoor maps. Our analysis also points out that the specific needs differ for the three groups. Besides the expected between-group differences, large in-group differences can also be found. The current article is an expanded version of earlier work [18] augmented by data of people with MIs.

https://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3514255


Analysis Tool for Simple Indoor Tagging

Jan Schmalfuß-Schwarz and Julian Striegl (2021).
FOSSGIS 2021 Anwenderkonferenz für Freie und Open Source Software für Geoinformationssysteme, Open Data und OpenStreetMap

Abstract:
The number of complete indoor maps tagged with Simple Indoor Tagging is small and the information they contain as well as their quality varies greatly. To support the mapping, a tool was developed based on OsmInEdit, which analyzes the aspects of room geometry, accessibility of rooms as well as the presence of required information for people with disabilities and represents incompleteness or errors within these using freely selectable Achievements. The mappers are free to choose which Achievements they want to reach and are supported by the tool, for example by being informed about overlapping rooms or missing information.


Accessible Indoor Maps

Jan Schmalfuß-Schwarz, Christin Engel und Claudia Loitsch (2021).
FOSSGIS 2021 Anwenderkonferenz für Freie und Open Source Software für Geoinformationssysteme, Open Data und OpenStreetMap

Abstract:
Within the article on the topic of “Accessible Indoor Maps”, the multifaceted field of indoor maps for people with blindness, visual as well as mobility impairments will be addressed. In particular, the usefulness and relevance of freely available indoor map data will be presented, the need for specific accessibility information will be explained, and the current state of the art for accessible map display will be shown. Furthermore, solution ideas for collecting required data will be presented and discussed. The focus is on the assumption that travelers want to get information about local conditions in advance.

The relevance of this topic is complex. Digital accessibility is increasingly enforced by the EU directive on barrier-free access to web offers. For digital maps, however, there are as yet neither standards on how to implement this nor sufficient data that comprehensively describe the accessibility of our physical environment. The latter is especially true for buildings, as there are only a few georeferenced indoor maps (e.g., on OpenStreet-Map) that are suitable for barrier-free representation of buildings.


Analyzing the Design of Tactile Indoor Maps

Engel C., Weber G. (2021) Analyzing the Design of Tactile Indoor Maps. In: Ardito C. et al. (eds) Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2021. INTERACT 2021. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 12932. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85623-6_26

Abstract: Tactile maps are feasible to increase the mobility of people with blindness and to achieve spatial information of unknown environments. Exploring tactile maps could be a hard task. Research on the design of tactile maps, especially the design and meaningfulness of tactile symbols, mostly addresses outdoor environments. The design of tactile indoor maps has been studied less frequently, although they differ significantly from outdoor environments. Therefore, in this paper, 58 tactile indoor maps have been investigated in terms of the design of the headline, additional map information, legend, walls and information presentation types used. In addition, the design of common objects for indoor environments, such as doors, entrances and exits, toilets, stairs and elevators, has been examined in more detail and commonly used symbols have been extracted. These findings form the basis for further user studies to gain insights into the effective design of indoor maps.

https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85623-6_26


„Travelling more independently: A requirements analysis for accessible journeys to unknown buildings for people with visual impairments”

Christin Engel, Karin Müller, Angela Constantinescu, Claudia Loitsch, Vanessa Petrausch, Gerhard Weber, Rainer Stiefelhagen (2020)
The 22nd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2020)

Abstract:
It is much more difficult for people with visual impairments to plan and implement a journey to unknown places than for sighted people, because in addition to the usual travel arrangements, they also need to know whether the different parts of the travel chain are accessible at all. The need for information is presumably therefore very high and ranges from knowledge about the accessibility of public transport as well as outdoor and indoor environments. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no study that examines in-depth requirements of both the planning of a trip and its implementation, looking separately at the various special needs of people with low vision and blindness. In this paper, we present a survey with 106 people with visual impairments, in which we examine the strategies they use to prepare for a journey to unknown buildings, how they orient themselves in unfamiliar buildings and what materials they use. Our analysis shows that requirements for people with blindness and low vision differ. The feedback from the participants reveals that there is a large information gap, especially for orientation in buildings, regarding maps, accessibility of buildings and supporting systems. In particular, there is a lack of availability of indoor maps.

https://doi.org/10.1145/3373625.3417022

Talk on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJDUHmUGjws


„AccessibleMaps: Addressing Gaps in Maps for People with Visual and Mobility Impairments”

Claudia Loitsch, Karin Müller, Christin Engel, Gerhard Weber and Rainer Stiefelhagen (2020).
17th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs

Abstract:
Persons with visual and mobility impairments often have problems when planning and implementing a trip to unknown buildings due to the inaccessibility of the built environment, the unavailability of reliable information, and missing mobility-supporting applications for indoor environments. One reason is the lack of barrier-free indoor maps enriched with accessibility information to support the diverse needs of people with disabilities. This paper provides a comprehensive review of user requirements, mobility-related applications and digital maps. We identify different gaps in supporting indoor mobility, i.e lack of (i) dedi-cated requirement analyses for mobility in unknown buildings, (ii) proce-dures to improve the coverage of digital indoor maps, (iii) standards for barrier-free map representations and (iv) location-based indoor services that meet the needs of people with disabilities. Besides, we introduce the AccessibleMaps project, which addresses some of these gaps by automat-ically generating indoor maps enriched with accessibility features.

https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58805-2_34


„Analysis of Indoor Maps Accounting the Needs of People with Impairments”

Julian Striegl, Claudia Lotisch, Jan Schmalfuss-Schwarz and Gerhard Weber (2020)
17th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs

Abstract:
Digital indoor maps are still in early stages of development but the demand for indoor location-based services is increasing contin-uously. Especially people with disabilities can benefit from accurate in-door maps with information in regards to the accessibility of indoor en-vironments. Currently there are no widely accepted open standards for the expression of accessibility information in indoor maps. Furthermore, there is a lack of methods to assess if indoor maps comply with the re-quirements of people with disabilities in terms of orientation and indoor navigation. To address this problem, this paper presents a first analy-sis of the quantity and quality of indoor maps exemplary for selected cities in OpenStreetMap. The results show that the number of mapped indoor environments in OpenStreetMap is still sparse. On average only one building per city has a completely mapped indoor environment and the number of buildings with accessibility information is even smaller. This indicates that crowd-sourcing approaches should be supported with automated mapping processes and an ongoing analysis of indoor maps accounting the needs of people with disabilities should be conducted in order to ensure the quality of provided indoor geospatial information.

https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58805-2_36


Considering Time-critical Barriers in Indoor Routing for People with Disabilities”

Jan Schmalfuß-Schwarz, Claudia Loitsch and Gerhard Weber (2020).
17th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs

Abstract:
The usage of indoor map applications is growing and their importance is also increasing within the group of people with disabili-ties. Therefore, different approaches were already developed to support the users on their way. Though, these solutions don’t prevent them from running into a dead end because of unknown insurmountable barriers. These barriers are often not included inside the data set of a building since they have no fixed locations and are temporary. For this reason, it is important to classify them on their characteristics and to develop a sys-tem that detects them and makes them available for routing applications. To address this, we present a classification of barriers founded on their time dependency within this paper and show an exemplary subdivision based on the three barrier types stairs, defect elevator, and wet floor. Furthermore, we draft a first proposal for the possibilities of develop-ing an adaptive system for routing people with disabilities that captures time-critical barriers.

https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58805-2_37