05 Apr
Google Ramps Up Accessibility Mapping Google Ramps Up Accessibility Mapping

Google Ramps Up Accessibility Mapping

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Google is taking advantage of its sizable collection of Maps app users to make the service more beneficial to people with disabilities.

People with mobility challenges are typically not taken into account in the realm of transportation. Which is odd when one considers that practically every other need -- from restaurant reviews to boutique store locations -- can be had by selecting an icon or two on a Google Maps display.

To be sure, Google Maps currently indicates if a particular location is wheelchair accessible, thanks to the efforts of one of the company's employees. Now, though, the company allows people to tap into crowdsourcing information from its 30 million global Local Guides. Users are submitting photos and tips about neighborhood locations. In return, they receive minor perks such as beefed up storage space.

Google requires crowdsourcing contributors to provide feedback to five questions, such as whether a location has accessible bathrooms or entrances, when contributing a review for a business or other location.

CityLab quoted Laura Slabin, Google’s director of local content and community, as saying, “The [users] have multiple motivations, and one is wanting to help their own community get around. So we’re leveraging the fact that people are motivated by altruism.”

How altruistic.

To make the whole process as helpful as possible, Google has provided a list of tips to help abled people answer the questions with as much detail as is available.

“It’s thinking beyond that just because there's an elevator, it's accessible,” says Becky Curran, a disability rights advocate who regularly contributes to her local guide. “And yes, there may be a ramp, but maybe the doorway isn't wide enough for a wheelchair to get through.”

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Read 2299 times Last modified on Tuesday, 27 March 2018 20:20
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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