Anyone with mobility problems or with friends and family who struggle with mobility concerns know the challenge of getting around. From day to day tasks to day trips out, planning a mobility friendly route can be a struggle without the right information. Fortunately, everyday volunteers can change this with the help of Google Maps.
Better mobility for everyone
Crowd sourcing to improve access information available via Google Maps has been ongoing for a while with volunteers, known as Local Guides, answering access questions about visited locations. Thanks to a petition, Google are now trying to raise even more awareness about this feature. If current Local Guides dedicated time to answer 3 questions a day for just two weeks, there will be nearly 2 billion answers shared on Google Maps. That’s 2 billion bits of information for millions of locations that can help the 65 million wheelchair users that need it.
It’s not just wheelchair users that benefit from this information either. Anyone with temporary or permanent mobility concerns, or even just mums with strollers, will be able to find more routes and locations suited to their needs. The more awareness raised, the more people may consider access issues when planning a day out, whether it’s for a family member or friend.
Become a Local Guide
You can become a Local Guide by joining and making your own contributions to Google Maps and answering the wheelchair accessibility questions available. You can do this:
- Ensuring Location History is enabled on the Google Maps app on your phone.
- Go to “Your Contributions”.
- Select “Answer questions about a place” – this can be any place you’ve been to without wheelchair access information.
- Answer all the accessibility questions that you can.
- With Android devices, you can even find places near you that are missing information and make contributions.
You’ll find a range of accessibility questions to answer in Google Maps, from wheelchair accessible entrances and restrooms, to seating and elevator facilities. Here’s a guide on how to answer these questions and supply accurate information to help wheelchair users.
You can make further contributions by uploading images, focusing on the facilities that matter to wheelchair users and writing a review that highlights the benefits and potential mobility problems. Level 3 Local Guides can also join a meet up or even host one to explore neighbourhoods with others and answer accessibility questions along the way.