Megan Lawrence

(Portland, Oregon) Founder & CEO, AccessGeo Accessibility Consulting Firm

Big Idea:
How Digital Navigation Systems will Create Universal Accessibility

If you were blind, how would you find the new coffee shop that everyone is talking about? Google maps, right? But today’s digital navigation systems often fall short of providing the information people with visual disabilities need to travel independently. Now, imagine a world where your smartphone could sense the environment and provide rich, spatially accurate information just in time and just in place. Imagine a world where accessibility is the norm, and we all have the freedom to get where we want to go. This is my vision, and we are on the cusp of making it a reality.

Megan Lawrence is the founder and CEO of AccessGeo, an accessibility consulting firm. Her work focuses on applying universal design principles to create technology that is accessible to all people regardless of (dis)ability.

Maps, however, are Megan’s first love. Throughout her career, she has worked to create better environmental accessibility through access to geospatial information for people who have visual disabilities. She holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Oregon and completed her postdoc at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Low Vision and Blindness. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.