A Better World for Disabilities
A better world for wheelers and people with disabilities – Google Maps’ call to arms
Posted on 14.09.2017
Google’s Map and Local Guides team have taken to their blog overnight calling on people with disabilities and their family, carers and friends or even the general public to help add information relating to accessibility about venues, places of interest and transport stops and interchanges.
The call to arms comes from Sasha Blair-Goldensohn who is a Software Engineer for Google Maps Content and Community team, who after an accident eight years ago has discovered what it’s like to navigate the world on wheels. As Sasha learnt, that those of us with mobility issues need information about places before we arrive. Does the art museum have a stair-free entrance? What about the cafe across the street? And is there an accessible restroom at that new restaurant?
And Sasha certainly isn’t alone, with more than 65 million people worldwide need wheelchairs, myself included in that figure.
As someone who uses a wheelchair and other mobility aides (such as either a walker or walking sticks) at times when able to other than my wheelchair, I have found that I would be searching and checking whether transport options, venues, places of interest, restaurants, theatres etc are wheelchair accessible either through Google searches or websites and where not available through these searches, I would have to contact them via my mobile to find this information out and what I would need to do to access these type of facilities.
Once I have arrived at the location, or even before hand, finding out where accessible facilities such as bathrooms, change rooms or accessible seating generally is.
Thats why starting today, Google’s Map’s team is calling on Local Guides, a community of people who contribute their expertise about places on Google Maps, to add more wheelchair accessibility attributes to the map. If each of our tens of millions of Local Guides answers three of these questions every day for two weeks, we can gather nearly two billion answers to help people who rely on this information every day.
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