Pioneering accessible navigation with BlindSquare

How BlindSquare leverages Foursquare’s Places API to create a virtual map of the world, through sound.


In a world that’s becoming increasingly dependent on mobile experiences, Foursquare’s database and understanding of how phones move through the world helps people discover new places, regardless of their visual ability.

BlindSquare is the world’s most popular, accessible GPS-based app created for the blind and visually impaired. With verbal prompts, the app describes the nearby environment, and announces points of interest and street intersections as it moves through space.

Since 2012, BlindSquare has been using Foursquare’s Places API to create a virtual map of the world, with sound. Built on our technology, BlindSquare helps its active community of 40,000 users navigate the world by presenting them with an auditory guide to surrounding streets, shops and services nearby (all powered by the Foursquare Places database of 105M global venues), plus turn-by-turn navigation. Thanks to the app, thousands of blind and visually impaired people are able to navigate their surroundings independently, and discover new places around them.

Image of the Blindsquare app. A list of categories of places is shown including "My Places", "Food", "Shops & Service" and "Local Info".
An image of a screen on the Blindsquare app showing. alist of options including "look around", "your location" and "around me".

Accurate location data

Foursquare’s database of 105 million places worldwide provides BlindSquare users with must-have information about nearby places with tips, hours of operation, menus and more so BlindSquare users can make informed decisions about where they’re going and know what to expect upon arrival.

Accurate location data is extremely important for any developer using location to power mobile experiences, but even more so when powering a service designed specifically for the blind and visually impaired. Thanks to the Foursquare partnership, BlindSquare is able to operate in more than 160 countries around the world, helping visually impaired explorers from San Francisco to Singapore.

The most trusted data platform

Location accuracy is something Foursquare prides itself on and is the reason why BlindSquare, along with thousands of the world’s largest companies such as Samsung, Uber, AccuWeather, Tencent, Tinder and Twitter trust Foursquare and have chosen to work with us. Our Snap-to-Place technology is 3x more accurate than radius and geofence methodologies, and our Places database, which is maintained by more than 44,000 Superusers, ensures our first party data is always up to date.

‘Together with Foursquare, we’re improving the lives of people who are blind or partially sighted. As an example, one of our daily users was delighted to discover that around the corner from her bus stop was a dry cleaner. This is exactly the type of experience we were hoping to create for this community. With Foursquare’s location information, we can enable people who are blind to “see” the world in a different way.’

— Rob Nevin, Principal at U-R-ABLE

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