The three primary venues as well as other sports centers have been geolocated by Lazarillo, which allows users to navigate at the games with audible guidance and interactive digital maps right from their mobile devices.

The Pan American and Parapan American Games, held this year in Santiago, Chile, is a continental event that brings together prominent competitors from a variety of sporting events, is currently underway. The event takes place in two parts. First, the conventional games, which began on October 20th. Second, the Parapan American games, in which athletes compete in adapted sports, which begins on November 17th.

This is a major competition, and with the scale of an event like this comes the need for technology that addresses barriers to accessibility in the various venues, stadiums, transit routes, and other areas used by visitors.

Assistive Technologies

For people with disabilities, navigating around a city isn’t always easy. However, thanks to Lazarillo’s wayfinding and digital mapping technologies being implemented in areas like the National Stadium Park, Peñatolén Park, and the Olympic Training Center, barriers to access for athletes and spectators alike are being significantly reduced. These technologies are already being used to facilitate easier and more accessible navigation for thousands of people, who are able to generate routes from their current location to any desired destination. They can also access a complete directory of facilities and amenities available at the venues. 

All of these tools are available both on the web and on mobile devices. To access the web version of the maps, individuals simply need to scan one of the Lazarillo QR codes displayed on site with their mobile phones. This gives users immediate access to the maps, which they can use to view walking routes as well as accessible routes for those with reduced mobility.

Lazarillo also provides real-time audio guidance in a user-friendly interface through our free mobile app, which is designed to help visually impaired individuals move more autonomously and access buildings and other essential services with ease.

The importance of assistive technology solutions like these were emphasized by Alejandro Arellano, Director of New Business at Lazarillo and also a Paralympic athlete.

“Many times, the infrastructure of cities may seem accessible, but it is not functional in reality. This is where Lazarillo plays a significant role, because it helps visually impaired people to be more independent in their daily lives, especially at these massive events,” said Arellano.

Clearly, this applies to an event like the games, where, although there have been some advancements in creating more user-friendly spaces for everyone, there is still a ton of room for improvement!

Accessible Transportation

Another significant challenge relates to the usability of public transportation, though some Chilean transit companies have already started to innovate in the accessibility space. One such company is the Santiago Metro, with whom Lazarillo has been working for over a year to enhance accessibility in 13 stations using our assistive technology solutions.

 This enables individuals with disabilities to more easily access the places they want to go, from sporting venues to educational centers and more. In fact, users have had so much positive feedback on the integration that we plan to expand the number of mapped stations going forward to further enhance the transit experience.

How Did We Become a Part of This Major Sporting Event?

The Pan American and Parapan American Games Santiago 2023 became aware of our work through the Regional Development Corporation of the Government of Santiago. We soon began working together with the goal of developing assistive technology solutions to be implemented at the games.

This project was also made possible by the participation of a variety of stakeholders including the Development Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, who have put their trust in our multi-platform resources to tackle this major mission.

santiago 2023

Our team knows that accessibility should be available to everyone. This sentiment is shared by the team at Santiago 2023, whose concern is focused on ensuring that both spectators and athletes alike have the tools they need to navigate accessibly in the facilities where the competitions take place.

This shared focus led to the implementation of a host of ground breaking assistive technology solutions at the games, from interactive digital maps accessible by QR code, to the creation of walking and accessible routes with turn by turn audible guidance, to enhancing accessibility in Metro stations across the city.

We are already having a blast at the Pan American Games, and we can’t wait for the Parapan American Games to kick off on November 17th! Going forward, we will continue to work tirelessly to enhance access to the facilities at the games so that everyone can enjoy them safely and accessibly.

Until next time, adios!