OsmAnd is a navigation application, which works on mobile devices running the Android operating system. More info about this application can be found directly on the project home page or on the Wikipedia page dedicated to it.
In order to avoid possible ambiguities in further reading, I’d like to note at the first place, that despite the fact that some resources referenced from this page are represented only in Russian for the moment, it does not mean that the application itself lacks English localization. Moreover, English resource in the application, in fact, is the primary one. Thus, there may be more or less shortage for various languages, but not for English.
Although the official version of OsmAnd in terms of non-visual accessibility, perhaps, in general differs favourably from other similar applications, and even includes a so-called accessibility plugin that provides users with some additional non-visual access facilities, in practice it is far from the stage of fully accessible application for the users with rigid visual limitations. OsmAnd access project aims to adapt OsmAnd application to the needs of blind users. On the pages of this project can be found the application itself, as well as some additional resources that could help you cope with it. Unfortunately, all this stuff is available only in Russian for the moment.
Unfortunately, the project was stopped in 2018. Thus, the material is somewhat outdated now and preserved mainly for historical reason. Some of the ideas and implementations described below were accepted by the main project, that, of course, improved accessibility of the application in general. Nevertheless, for OsmAnd developers this problem is not the most important one, so there is much to do in this direction yet.
The application presented here is essentially an alternative version of OsmAnd with advanced non-visual accessibility and bears the same name. However, installing it above the official version and vice versa is not treated by system as an update and can lead to undesirable consequences.
To distinguish our releases from the official ones we introduce the application
version designation “a11y+”. Thus, for example, OsmAnd version
1.8.3-a11y+1 corresponds to the official release of OsmAnd version
1.8.3 in terms of basic functionality and is practically identical
to it when accessibility feedback is turned off.
Audio and haptic feedback for the compass functions has been introduced. So you can determine the direction to a particular object turning the device horizontally. It can be an object that has the focus in the search results list, next route point during navigation or the destination point in other cases, if it is set.
Sound (or vibration) signal occurs when the axis of the device slightly deviates from the correct direction. Thus, we need to “ get in the fork” between the two signals.
Implemented reverse geocoding facility. It allows to receive a verbose description (usually it is a postal address) of the current location. This information could be retrieved from various online sources as well as from the maps stored in the device memory in offline mode. Source selection is available in the program accessibility preferences.
This function is available via the context menu (choose item “Look around”). It displays a list of nearby objects located in the surroundings of the virtual location. The list may include not only the POI, but also favorites. You can configure the filter so that only the objects of your interest will be shown.
A number of the program functions are available through voice control. This mode is called by shaking the device in the direction of its longitudinal axis, through the context menu or by pressing the button on the headset. When a headset is used it’s button can be used to interrupt speech input as well. The editor of the voice commands is available in the configuration of accessibility features of the program.
As in the official version of the program, in accessibility mode this screen can be opened through the main menu: the item “Where am I / Details”. Now, among other things, there are the results of reverse geocoding, description of the destination point (if any) and information about the map scale (size of the displayed area).
In the official version of OsmAnd application autoannounce (automatic announcement of the direction and distance to the destination) is issued only when the direction to the destination is changed. Here you can optionally specify a period of unconditional issuing of autoannounce. You can set minimal time interval between auto announcements in a range from 5 seconds to 5 minutes.
Accessibility preferences of the program related to the navigation process are set individually for each profile (car, bicycle, pedestrian). These include:
Of course, this release includes all goodies of the base version as well as aforementioned features and improvements specific to our project. Besides that, several new accessibility related features have been added in this particular version:
Here is the list of changes introduced in this release:
Installable package of the application can be downloaded here:
Or you can find it on the project’s page along with the other related information and utilities to convert points of routes and Loadstone databases to the OsmAnd GPX format. These utilities were designed specially for the Loadstone users in order to help them not lose their own point databases during the transition to OsmAnd.