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An Indoor Routing Algorithm for the Blind: Development and Comparison to a Routing Algorithm for the Sighted

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This paper presents a prototypical implementation of a non-network-based indoor routing algorithm for the sighted and the blind. The spatial abilities of the visually impaired are discussed. Former approaches of outdoor navigation systems for the blind are analyzed and deemed inappropriate for the purpose of modeling indoor navigation. The proposed routing algorithm for the blind calculates routes based on physical characteristics of traveling with a long cane. The algorithm distinguishes between clues, landmarks, obstacles, and hazards along the feasible paths and selects the optimal route by trading off distance and the number of landmarks and clues along a route. Subsequently, the routes for the blind are compared to routes calculated by the routing algorithm for the sighted. The paper asserts that the proposed indoor routing algorithm leads to more suitable routes for the blind.

Keywords: indoor navigation; non-network-based routing algorithm; visually impaired; wayfinding

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13658810802421115

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, San Diego State University, USA 2: Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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