Quantum Spatial kicks off accessibility mapping project for NAU

Images from a 3D model of NAU's campus

Quantum Spatial, Inc., an NV5 company and the nation’s largest geospatial data firm, announced that it has embarked on a project in coordination with Northern Arizona University to develop a campus accessibility map that helps individuals with mobility issues easily navigate the campus. Quantum Spatial, working in partnership with the university’s GIS and astronomy departments and the Commission on Disability Access and Design, is conducting a lidar survey across the Flagstaff campus and will develop high-resolution maps that are programmed to work with assistive technology, such as screen readers.

“NAU is committed to campus accessibility that goes beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act. As part of this, we had the idea to develop an innovative tool that not only provides a fully accessible map of the campus, but also makes an inherently visual solution available to those with visual impairments,” said Lauren Copeland-Glenn, program manager with the Equity and Access Office at NAU. “Quantum Spatial, with its extensive experience in advanced geospatial mapping and developing unique customer applications using this data, is a pivotal partner in making this concept a reality.”

Quantum Spatial is collecting data via drone and terrestrial laser scanner to create a full 3-dimensional map of the 400-acre campus. The resulting high-resolution map will enable the university to provide accurate information about slope and other path-of-travel features to determine the best routes for those who use wheelchairs or want to avoid stairs. Once this first stage is complete, NAU will enhance the map by integrating audio assistive technologies for those with vision impairments.

“The Quantum Spatial team thrives when given the opportunity to discover new and interesting ways to apply the geospatial information we collect, which is why the NAU project is so compelling,” said Scott Nowicki, lead research and development scientist at Quantum Spatial. “This project developing a uniquely-detailed high-resolution model of the exterior campus environment will provide all students, staff and visitors with a valuable resource to help them easily navigate the sprawling campus.”