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NOPPA - Navigation and Guidance System for the Blind in Finland

By News Editor / Updated: 02 Sep 2014

This system was designed to offer public transport passenger information and pedestrian guidance for people with visual impairments.

Background & Objectives


NOPPA personal navigation system was created by the Ministry of Transport and Communications Finland (VTT) in a three-year pilot project part of Finland's Passenger Information Programme (HEILI). It was the first pedestrian navigation system offering real-time public transport information and speech recognition.
The project was funded by the VTT along with several other partners and lasted from 2002 to 2004. NOPPA is based on available personal navigation components and services and uses public service databases over Internet. A similar service exists in the Netherlands (SONIS).




The main features of NOPPA personal navigation system are:


  • public transport information (timetables, route planning, real time passenger information)
  • navigation (outdoor and indoor positioning, personalised route planning, route guidance, heading information, roadwork warnings)
  • communication (PDA or 3G phone, speech user interface, GPRS server connection, SMS, news services)
  • local information (short range radio, communication (Bluetooth), areas and points of interest)
  • optional accessories (collision warning device, video camera)


The information server is an interpreter between the user and Internet information systems. It collects, filters and integrates information from different sources and delivers the results to the user. The server handles speech recognition (e.g. from 13,200 street and destination names) and functions requiring either complex calculations or large data transfer from the Internet. The data transfer between the server and the client is kept to a minimum. The client terminal holds speech synthesis, user interface, positioning and most of the route guidance. The user interface is menu-based and selections are made with hardware buttons and speech input.





NOPPA was a national pioneer project in the field of demonstrating personal navigation for the visually impaired that ended in 2004. Since then parts of the system, such as speech user interface, were developed further in separate projects. Currently the system is used as a research platform only and doesn't have active real users. This was due to not finding reasonable funding/ways to make it a product back then.



For further information see attached documents or visit the website.

Torsten Belter
MM for cities & Regions
measures - information systems
PDF icon noppa_vtt.pdf534.07 KB
PDF icon fin-noppa.pdf253.95 KB
03 Mar 2008
02 Sep 2014
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