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Open LiDAR Database for Accessibility

3d scanning has been available as a consumer technology for over two decades, however the field is still considered niche.  There are few open standards for using 3d scanning in libraries and archives, let alone metrics for how it should be approached from the perspective of accessibility. 

A front porch in Charlottesville

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a 3d scanning technology that allows users to calculate size, location, and distance.  The applications for LiDAR data are diverse - ranging from making models for 3d printing to indoor wayfinding to creating and managing VR/AR content.  For example, indoor wayfinding - how people navigate indoor spaces where GPS is unavailable - is also a product associated with LiDAR technology. 

The use and access to this technology is of special significance to the blind and vision impaired community, as it has a range of applications that can enhance quality of life.  Is there a person standing six feet away and are they wearing a mask? It’s a question already being answered by a LiDAR enhanced app. In 2020, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad 12 were released as the first tools to bring LiDAR globally to consumer hands.

Working with the UVa Science and Engineering Library, the National Federation of the Blind, and hardware developers at Boundri - a startup founded by low-vision pioneer Luke Parker - we are working to solve some basic questions regarding the LiDAR workflow in different real-world applications. 


LYRASIS Catalyst Fund - Open LiDAR Database for Accessibility Application

Revised Calendar and scheduled meetings - all meetings are the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 3pm

  Goals Deliverables zoom link
July 2021 Review timeline and initiatives.  Produce documentation

This page!


August 2021

Develop LIDAR / SLAM team & coordinate  storage work (IPFS, s3, and other options)

Use current best practices to scan 2 more libraries

First Haptic Feedback review

Wrote the first review with  zoom
September 2021

Connect with advocacy at Center for Civic Innovation

Use current best practices to scan 2-3 public spaces

Storage mechanism review


October 2021

Skydio Drone work begins

LIDAR integration review (bringing 3d scanning, drone scanning, and open core scanning together)

Open Street Map Integration Development

November 2021

Crowdsource 3d scanning outside

Second Haptic Feedback Review

Prepare Center for Civic Innovation presentation

December 2021 Present Charlottesville area work with Center for Civic Innovation   zoom
January 2022

Finalize storage mechanism

Crowdsource Indoor mapping 

February 2022

Data science & Computational modeling

March 2022 Open Street Map Integration Review   zoom
April 2022

Final Haptic Review

Deliver draft of white paper to for review

May 2022 Review NFB notes   zoom
June 2022 Present final work to LYRASIS   zoom

Revised Budget


iPads & apps are at the core of evaluating the new 3d scanning  tools in an off-the-shelf consumer experience

iPads & Apps x 8

  • 2x UVa Library
  • Center for Civic Innovation
  • 2x NFB
  • Open Street Map
  • Taskar Center for Accessibility
  • Computers 4 kids


Working with drones will give us added opportunities to test LIDAR’s potential in a more precise (robotic) function.  This should help us evaluate the utility of the 3d maps created with iOS devices

Skydio 3d


Working directly with blind and low vision developers who are critical stakeholders and ground-truth experts is essential is led by a low-vision team and will work on haptic feedback systems to coordinate with the 3d scanning

Open Hardware (


The National Federation of the Blind is another stakeholder and will review our final efforts and white paper to ensure that our message is clear in the blind and low-vision community and that communication may occur outside of the library environment in which we are working

NFB Review


Travel & Administrative costs (req)






Register to learn more and contribute to the 3d database

Attachment Size
Lyrasis Catalyst 2021.pdf (66.66 KB) 66.66 KB

Project notes

Indoor mapping plan - 2021-09-27 Our plan:
Meeting with Maitri Patel - 2021-09-20 First meeting with Maitri Patel UVa, SoM 2024 -… more
Thurs 12th 8-9pm on zoom - 2021-08-12 Join from 8-9pm aug 12… more
IPFS file storage - 2021-07-30 went through this documentation

https://www.… more
Complete App review and documentation - 2021-07-27 The first solid review done with is… more
First LIDAR test with - 2021-07-20 Working with we're going to compare… more
App Review - 2021-07-20 Getting a spreadsheet going with a comparison of… more