Hello friends, family, lists and all other contacts that I have managed to
find over this last hour.
I'm writing to you all to ask for your help.
As some of you know, some of you don't, but recently Vodafone has gone and
completely discontinued the "way finder access" gps solution that many blind
people use. For those of you that don't know what this is then let me
briefly explain. Wayfinder was developed as a gps solution for blind people
to use on their mobile phone. It has been developed to work with what ever
screen reader you are using on your phone whether it be Mobilespeak or Talks
so it isn't dependent on 1 specific bit of software to run. Wayfinder access
or as it is more commonly known as WFA, is an internet based gps solution.
It connects to a centralised server for any route calculation. This means
among other things, that any map updates that are available are all done at
the server end which means that you as the end user automatically have
"free" access to those maps when ever you connect. You aren't charged to
upgrade your maps because no maps are stored on the phone. Unlike products
developed from companies such as
http://www.humanware.com/en-united_kingdom/home or http://www.gwmicro.com
this gps solution costs less than £300 to purchase where as the products as
shown in these web links cost well over £1000. which for your average person
is not a reasonable price.
As yet we do not know why Vodafone have officially discontinued wayfinder
access, all we know that it has been discontinued.
So we are asking for your help. Below is a link to an "official" protest
site that has been launched. The idea is to get as many signatures as
possible between now and the 15th of March and then we will send this off to
Vodafone to see what can be done.
Please help us by signing the petition and spreading the word. Contact your
friends, family, work colleagues, anybody and everybody you can think of.
Your assistants, time and effort taken with this matter is appreciated
Vodafone... get blind pedestrians back on track!
Released in April 2007, Wayfinder Access was the first GPS application that
was accessible for blind and low vision users on their mobile phone. A
breakthrough! an affordable product that made blind persons more independent
by informing them about their surroundings and allowing them to walk any
route they wanted. Vodafone recently bought Wayfinder Systems and
discontinued Wayfinder Access. Most blind users don't have an alternative,
so they will lose access to all the freedom GPS navigation can offer them.
The few alternatives to Wayfinder Access are at least 3 times more expensive
and often don't run on a mobile phone, requiring the user to carry around
and maintain a lot of extra expensive equipment. In many countries, no
alternative for Wayfinder is available at all. As you will see,
discontinuing Wayfinder Access would put thousands of blind pedestrians off
track! Please help us make clear to Vodafone that they are heading the wrong
way and sign our petition! Please also pass on the link to this page to
other persons to ensure we get as many signatures as possible!
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