20-year stories: eMap finds its way home


Gil-Into-Office Gil-&-Lexy-Walking-Wide Gil-Keypad-CU The rest of the story, part I (published in Garmin’s internal newsletter, 2000)

Gil certainly did have us scratching our heads in amazement. We contacted him to find out just how he uses eMap … and we’re still amazed. Gil, who is blind, uses his GPS receiver in conjunction with a digital talking map software program called GPS-Talk, which allows his eMap to “talk” through a software speech synthesizer.

When Gil goes out for a walk or is headed for a business appointment, he’s equipped with a backpack that holds a laptop computer. His eMap is connected to the laptop and rests in the backpack. Also plugged into the laptop are earphones and a numeric keypad. He uses the keypad to access information and execute functions on the GPS, and he hears the information relayed through the earphones.

Gil-At-Computer Gil uses a special computer adapted for the visually impaired along with the GPS-Talk software to create routes before leaving home. Once he has activated a route, the speech synthesizer kicks in, telling him which way to start walking and how many feet to proceed. It even announces streets and intersections as he approaches them.

“It’s very accurate, especially with Selective Availability turned off,” said Gil. “I can enter a street address and it gets me to within a doorway of where I’m going. I usually just pop my head in and ask if I’m at the right place.”

Gil-&-Lexy-Crossing-Street- Along with his eMap, laptop and other gadgets, another companion on his outings is Lexy, Gil’s Seeing Eye dog. Gil calls Lexy, a golden lab, his “furry Ferrari.” She goes wherever her partner goes, even when Gil is traveling overseas. Gil does a lot of traveling with his job as a computer consultant specializing in adaptive computer devices. He’s also involved with a technology resource center serving the Toledo, Ohio, and surrounding areas. Gil started the resource center on his own. In describing the services provided by the center, Gil said: “We deal with all the geek stuff that allows a person who’s blind to use a computer.” Now here’s a guy who lets nothing slow him down or stand in his way. Hats off to Gil and others who adapt Garmin products to serve their needs, giving them the freedom to go anywhere and do anything.

The rest of the story, part II (what Gil is doing today)

We reconnected with Gil to get an update and we’re thrilled to hear he’s still in the business of adaptive computer technologies. Here’s the latest from Gil:

I'm still deeply involved with GPS and often have dueling GPS trips with my daughter using her Garmin StreetPilot. I'm really considering getting a nüvi 880 for my wife. If I'm not in the car navigating with my GPS, her trips can get very adventurous. I think she would be able to manage a device she could talk to. With a little modification, nüvi could easily be used by blind users. If the menus would read, it would work very well. My new furry Ferrari, Evie, and I have traveled all over the world by ourselves and this was made very easy with our GPS system. My little company, Sendero, has really blossomed. We now are the undisputed leader in adapted GPS. I'm very proud of what a small group of people have been able to do.


The post 20-year stories: eMap finds its way home appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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