The City of Brampton has seen skyrocketing population growth over the past few decades and with more and more people continuing to move here, the city is looking for different ways to deliver services.

Brampton is partnering U.S. tech giant Microsoft will be working together to install new technology around the city to help the visually impaired find their way with the help of the company’s Soundscape app.

Soundscape provides visually-impaired users with information about their surroundings by providing audio cues and labels in 3D space so that they sound like they are coming from the direction of various points of interest including parks and roads.

Microsoft first launched the app back in 2014. Canada is the fourth largest market globally to use the app, behind the United States, the U.K. and Austria. Canada is the first to launch it in both English and French languages. The app uses mapping data from both Open Street Map and its own in-house Bing Maps software.

“The city is partnering with Microsoft to explore opportunities to add a customizable ‘Brampton-specific’ layer to the app,” says Brampton media spokesperson Alexander Vesia. “This could mean event-specific way-finding for an event like Canada Day, or the weekly farmers market. Or, it might focus on way-finding inside city hall and recreation centres.”

The City says the partnership with Microsoft is only in the preliminary stages. City staff is gauging public interest and looking at locations in the city where the technology will be most effective to “enhance the customer experience”.

“Creating a truly accessible city for everyone is a major priority for the City of Brampton and we believe technology will play a big role in helping us achieve our goals,” says Brampton interim Chief Administrative Officer Joseph Pittari. “Soundscape will help add more insight and information, which will help people of all abilities gain confidence and get more from their experiences in Brampton.”

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