Improving Accessibility for Pedestrians with Geographic Information

Mari Laakso

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    Environments can be made more accessible by offering users information about barriers and objects that might hinder their progress, thus enabling more information about accessible routes. The study delineates the relevant geospatial information needed to describe the accessibility of an environment. Even though laws, acts and regulations give thorough building requirements for creating accessible environments, there is no holistic approach in geospatial data collection to represent the accessibility of geographical spaces. In this thesis, an information model is presented for representing the pedestrian environment. The model allows for accessibility issues and enables the use of geospatial information in pedestrian navigation applications. In addition to data contents and data modelling, this research studies how accessibility can be further increased by way of sound when communicating geospatial information. By communicating the geospatial information via sound the information content can be enhanced and usability improved. Sonic maps create remote access to nature and enhance the accessibility of a place. In this thesis, the fundamental aim was to study the information requirements in particular situations where different kinds of pedestrian users determine which route they might successfully complete.

    The results of the thesis will help data providers collect and store geospatial information, while taking accessibility issues into account, and hopefully it will raise awareness about issues pertaining to universal accessibility. Albeit, the main effort should focus on building accessible environments; in certain situations, people face hindrances and geospatial information could enable users overcome them.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Virrantaus, Kirsi-Kanerva, Supervising Professor
    • Sarjakoski, Tiina, Thesis Advisor, External person
    Print ISBNs978-951-711-313-7
    Electronic ISBNs978-951-711-314-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • accessibility
    • pedestrian navigation
    • geospatial information

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