APH Press Release
Louisville’s Civic Data Alliance to hold Second Civic Hacking Event at American Printing House for the Blind on March 21: Coders needed
On February 21, Louisville was one of dozens of cities hosting Code for America’s Civic Hacking Weekend for 2015, called CodeAcross. Civic Data Alliance (CDA) coders worked on gathering information from Open Data Sources to enhance Nearby Explorer, an app created by American Printing House (APH) to let people who are blind get detailed information about locations across the U. S—including street addresses, bus routes, and more. The effort was a spectacular success.
“We are actually seeing and using the street address information from OSM that CDA imported at the Feb. 21 event. I’m glad someone had the great idea to start with the Clifton Crescent Hill neighborhoods (near where APH is located), because it makes it much easier to experience the dramatic results. For example, both Google and the onboard NAVTEQ maps report a particular house number as 205, but OSM pins it dead on at 203.” said Larry Skutchan, APH’s technology Project Leader. “I am amazed to see the power of Civic Data Alliance and what a group of dedicated people can actually accomplish”
The result of the work that day was outstanding: about 1/6 of the data was loaded. But since more data needs to be added, a second day of coding has been scheduled for March 21.
CDA and APH are seeking those interested in coding and Open Data to come to APH March 21 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. to work on the project. Those who participate can expect a day of programming, design, mapping, and collaboration. They will learn how to mass import buildings and addresses into Open Street Map, and do it.
Admission is free, but space is limited, so only the first 50 people to register may attend. We ask people to sign up by noon, Thursday, Thursday, March 19 so we can make sure we have enough resources (and food) on hand to make the day flow smoothly. Sign up at http://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Civic-Data-Alliance/events/220786152/
Data gathered that day will be used to for Nearby Explorer™ An Android app designed by APH. The app empowers users who are blind or visually impaired to independently explore, discover, and enjoy their neighborhoods, in Louisville and other cities throughout the nation– and beyond– with poise and confidence.
The American Printing House for the Blind is located at 1839 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky 40206, www.aph.org
Organizer: Civic Data Alliance CDA
- Louisville’s Amerian Printing House for the Blind is a national institution. Using open data, they have created an app that helps people who are blind and visually impaired navigate cities safely! The app is called Nearby Explorer and is a $99 Andoid App.
- APH uses Open Street Map (OSM) standardized layer data to import into their app. They load data into OSM from open data portals that have an open data license. The app uses audio to announce important locations as visually impaired people walk around.
- Right now they either don’t have, or have to pay for, good data about buildings, street addresses, parcels, sewer drains, manholes, power poles, parking meters, and street crossings.
- With the data they can 1) improve walking and driving safety of visually impaired people, 2) possilby charge less for the app, 3) serve as a model for other US city’s open data, thereby increasing their coverage area.
- The Civic Data Alliance has volunteered to help APH work with OSM to import the data properly, a process that is both technical and bureaucratic (mass data imports need much coordination with the OSM community).
- Additionally, if successful, APH employees are happy to speak this summer at the national Code for America Summit and share this great open data success for APH, Louisville, and the CDA!
About the American Printing House for the Blind
The American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest nonprofit company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. who are working at less than college level. APH was recently named Kentucky Mid-sized Manufacturer of the year.
APH makes textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also makes hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products including computer software and an array of assistive technology items.
The American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. is located at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, call (502) 895-2405 or log on to www.aph.org