[Loadstone] Grmapa - talking map - version 1.0 beta released.

Grzegorz Złotowicz grzezlo at gmail.com
Tue Dec 1 22:07:06 GMT 2015

Maybe a bit off-topic, but this tool is very useful, especially for
Loadstone-gps users, which I'm still one of.

Grmapa is a computer software ,making possible nonvisual browsing of
geographic maps with text and sound, instead of graphic.
Program works under Windows operating system. It requires a sound card,
and screen-reading software for blind users. Currently Grmapa
communicates with NVDA, Jaws for Windows, Window-eyes, or - if none of
above is running - texts are spoken via default SAPI5 synthesizer.
Maps for program can be imported from OpenStreetMap project.
Grmapa map file contains 3 categories of geographical informations:
points, lines and areas.
Points are most frequently roads intersections, and so called points of
interest: shops, banks, restaurants, etc. Lines are paths, roads,
rivers, boundaries of regions etc. Areas are e.g. forests, lakes, larger
rivers, parkings, factories etc.
Virtual space of loaded terrain can be compared to giant chessboard.
Each of its' box is a square which side is 10 meters long. User's
direction is north. Using arrow keys moves one square in choosen direction.
Few squares around user are illustrated by sounds, so it's important to
have speakers or headphones properly positioned.
Name of object on current square is automatically announced by used
screen reader. If it's not enough information, using Space key , we can
hear more, e.g. object type, city, region etc.
If we're located at line, for example road, direction of this line is
automatically spoken.
Initial user direction is north. It can be changed at any time.
Initial one square size set to 10 meters, can be changed in range from 2
meters (maximum accuracy) to 10 kilometers (viewing huge areas). Using
arrows to move around the map is not only method of navigation. Second
one is navigation using mouse or touchpad.
Program announces the name of current object, and sounds ilustrate few
squares around the user. If we want to know more about further area, it
is possible using commands from "Area" menu or shortcut keys.
Bookmarks are user-defined orientational points, having geographical
coordinates and name. Can be useful during map exploration, for defining
some places we want easily return to, or for marking stages of planned
route. Bookmarks can be saved to disk in Loadstone-gps file format. Such
file can be copied to phone and used in real navigation. Some programs
can import Loadstone-gps database text file, and not checkpoints file.
It's possible to switch bookmark save format in the settings menu.
Grmapa lets play GPS log, saved in NMEA format. Such log can be
generated e.g. in Loadstone-GPS software, using "Start logging" function.
Connection of Grmapa and GPS device works similar to log playback, but
in real time. It's possible after pairing bluetooth GPS receiver and the
computer using system tools.
First public Grmapa version was released in june of 2012, in Polish
language only.
Grmapa used maps build on a server from UMP (Universal Map of Poland)
Last months, an OpenStreetMap import feature was added, and whole
program and documentation internationalized, so it became ready to be
presented for international blind computer users community.
English language translation is initial, so please report all language
After correcting most language errors, it'll be possible to translate
Grmapa to other languages (requires translation of two .po files).
License: Freeware.
Author: Grzegorz Zlotowicz.
Website: http://grmapa.zlotowicz.pl/test/

Greetings, Greg.

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