Every day, there are 17 pedestrians and 2 cyclists killed in crashes with vehicles, and over 120,000 people fall or slip on sidewalks. Studies show that most of these accidents occur due to infrastructure problems, including poor curb cuts, lack of visibility, obstacles, narrow walkways, steep slopes, and so on. The same obstacles that cause injuries and accidents, have also been found to be the root cause of inaccessibility for individuals that have mobility concerns. In 2017, the Canadian Survey on Disability estimated that over 2 million adult Canadians are limited in their daily activities due to a mobility disability. Even though government data and other research have assessed the impact of mapping accessibility on urban areas, there is still a large gap between existing research and its implementation. This is where GeoMate comes into play. GeoMate is a location-based tools, analysis, and software company, headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario. In January of 2019, two co-founders, Amin Gharebaghi and Nastaran Saberi, who hold combined over 30 years of experience managing and running geospatial product companies in the past initially started the firm.
Dr. Amin Gharebaghi is GeoMate’s CEO, completed his PhD at the University of Laval, focused entirely on studying accessibility across urban areas. His research culminated in four papers published on the root physical causes of inaccessibility, reviewing everything from curb cuts to sidewalk terminations. Amin was driven to this research due to the poor adoption of digital mapping technology by users with disabilities and accessibility experts; he sought to show how this type of technology be customized for everyone’s needs and incredibly useful for accessibility policy research. Dr. Nastaran Saberi is GeoMate’s CTO, and works on remote sensing, image recognition, and the artificial intelligence back-end developments in GeoMate. She has been heavily involved with the GeoMate from the very beginning, having worked as an expert in AI.