Re: Blind Navigation, Arkenstone, & some friends are in the news!

From: John Miller (
Date: Tue Jul 25 1995 - 08:39:48 PDT

Hello gang:
Thank you Fred for posting these articles.
I'm glad to see that Arkenstone and the NFB are in the press.
I agree with David Andrews: the fundamental
problem for the blind is getting a job and enhancing job opportunities.
Atlas Speaks is a good product because it allows us to access
route information and reenforce map reading skills.

The article mixes myth and fact about how blind folk get about
to leave the reader with the impression that the blind think differently
about travel than the sighted do. This simply isn't true.
Let me show you what I mean. Mr. May, a blind man himself,
says the blind don't use cardinal directions to travel. There are two hurdles in getting
an interview--one is having a resume that passes mustard and the other is getting to the interview.
When an applicant calls me for directions to the interview site, I use cardinal directions
in combination with other landmarks. If the applicant doesn't show, he doesn't get the job.
The same is true of the blind. Some may choose not to think "go north then turn east"
but "go straight then turn right" but
everyone needs to be familiar with both methods of directions.
Ask Peggy Elliott for directions at convention some time.
Be prepared to think in cardinal directions.

The second point is about braille maps.
The article leads me to think that a blind guy should carry strider rather
than a braille map because braille maps are large.
Braille maps are small, probably cost no more than $10, and
you should be familiar how to use one. If you have experience reading maps,
you will get more from Atlas Speaks and Strider. It follows the rule of thumb
that a good map reader can make more sense and remember
the gist of a new map better than an inexperienced map reader can.

John A. Miller
                   (619) 658-2689
member, National Federation of the Blind

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