#NAW: National Accessibility Week and our New Initiatives

Working Together to Remove Barriers

At Gateway Navigation we live and breathe inclusion, accessibility, and sustainability 365 days of the year. National Accessibility Week #NAW. Reminds us to take this moment to share with everyone. The exciting initiatives we are partnering to create a Barrier Free Canada as imagined  by persons who live disability everyday.

McGill IMAGE (Internet Multi-Modal Access to Graphical Exploration) Project

On Wednesday, June 2nd McGill University and Gateway Navigation joined the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), weekly national Zoom meeting Getting Together with Technology (GTT).

The presentation was an overview of the IMAGE Project. Being led by McGill University’s Shared Reality Lab. In strategic partnership with Gateway Navigation CCC Ltd and the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). The project, funded by Innovation Science Economic Development Canada through the Assistive Technology Program.

The presentation kicked off the McGill IMAGE project’s outreach to all internet users who are blind, deaf-blind, or low vision. The project is actively recruiting volunteer participants to work with the research team, in developing tools for exploring internet graphical images. The vast majority of which are not accessible to non-visual users.

The project’s objective is to develop multi-modal feedback (audio, touch, and vibration) tools enabling users to gain a deeper understanding that is equal or superior to their sighted peers.

To get involved or for more information click on the link below:

https://bach.cim.mcgill.ca/atp/

Public Services Procurement Canada (PSPC) Seminar

On Friday, June 4th we co-presented to Public Services Procurement Canada (PSPC) Office Small Medium Enterprise (OSME) in Pacific Region.

A one-hour seminar focused on the built environment and digital inclusion. Titled Designing Welcoming Communities. A Case Study in Action. Presentation panelists included experts on sustainable architectural design, digital 3D modeling, assistive technology, and venue management.

The workshop covered inclusive audio-based augmented reality and sustainability. Including a case study review and interactive demonstration of the Accessibuild / CF Pacific Centre Mall digital indoor wayfinding app pilot currently being beta tested in downtown Vancouver.

Jim Taggart FRAIC Introductory Remarks to Presentation:

As a former architect who left the profession because of a degenerative eye condition, I have multiple reasons to be interested in the evolution of digital technology that can facilitate interior navigation for those who cannot see.  In my current role, as both a Director of Gateway Navigation and the editor of Sustainable Architecture and Building Magazine, I am in the unique and privileged position to help bridge the gap between the building designers and building users.

Over the past few years, we have seen interior navigation  technology develop from the physical installation of blue tooth beacons with their restricted range of transmission, installation, and maintenance costs; through wi-fi fingerprinting, more flexible in its application but subject to inconsistencies in transmission and reception; to a flexible, economic, unobtrusive, and reliable Lidar scanning system - which we will hear more about in a few minutes.

From an architect’s perspective, Lidar offers maximum flexibility as the data it uses can either be sourced from a virtual 3-D model of the building as it is being designed; or acquired through an in-person scan  of the completed building. While this still leaves us assembling the necessary data one building at a time, both the acquisition process and accessibility for users is simpler and more flexible.

While COVID has certainly heightened the architectural profession’s interest in universal access, this interest has been growing for some time. I believe the profession is looking for guidance on this issue and, in some cases, architectural firms are ahead of the legislative curve. Major firms are seeking certification from the Rick Hansen Foundation for example, even though this is a voluntary standard. In one case, a firm that specializes in the design of community centres and swimming pools has created an open standard for the design of universal change rooms, because no such standard is available elsewhere

I believe all this positions us at a very exciting point in the evolution of building design, with the momentum around universal accessibility growing rapidly as information is shared and new initiatives undertaken.

If you have questions or would like more information on the pilot or workshop please contact us by email at: partners@gnc3.com

An exciting week of announcements and projects dedicated to removing barriers and creating inclusive, accessible, and sustainable solutions.

Visit our website to find out more about us and our services at link: www.gnc3.com/about

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