[aprssig] "Blind" APRS

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Fri Nov 7 17:14:42 EST 2008

Patrick wrote:
> We were chatting about APRS on the way to work the other day on the 
> local repeater.  One
> of the guys in the discussion brought up something I've never really 
> considered.  Is
> there any currently system(s) for using APRS which would be usable by 
> a blind operator?
> If so, does anyone here know of any end users of such systems that 
> wouldn't mind trading
> a couple emails on the subject?  I'm prepping a presentation on APRS 
> for January, and
> thought that adding some content on that aspect might ensure that even 
> people who know
> about APRS might learn something they didn't know before..

I have many times been in conversation with a group of blind ops on 75 
meters while beaconing APRS.  They just point their web browsers 
(equipped with audio screen readers) to findu.com.  The screen reader 
will voice the text above the map such as:

"Position of WA8LMF --- 1.9 miles northeast of Pasadena, CA --- Report 
received 43 minutes 19 seconds ago
Status: 062148zMobile SSTV LiveCAM 146.52 or HF Altitude: 957 feet    
Mic-E message 0, Off Duty
Raw packet: WA8LMF>STPYXT,WIDE2-1,qAR,N6EX-3:'._
l 2>/]"7*}" 
They find the "xx miles nn direction of city X" quite usable.     
Selecting just the first line in the screen reader works very effectively.

I have talked at least one blind ham through using the Internet- (or 
RF-via-AGW)  connected UI-Instant Messenger APRS messaging client quite 
successfully.  (This app is either a plug-in for UIview or runs as a 
stand-alone TCP/IP application.) Since this app doesn't depend on map 
graphics, it works very nicely with audio screen readers.


Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
EchoLink Node:      14400    [Think bottom of the 2M band]
Home Page:          http://wa8lmf.com  --OR--   http://wa8lmf.net

World Digipeater Map

JavAPRS Filter Port 14580 Guide

"APRS 101"  Explanation of APRS Path Selection & Digipeating

Updated "Rev H" APRS            http://wa8lmf.net/aprs
Symbols Set for UI-View,
UIpoint and APRSplus:

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