The Google Maps team has requested its extensive user community help improve its accessibility listings.
As reported in previous issues of e-Access Bulletin, Google has taken various steps to increase its accessibility offerings in maps during previous months (see e-Access Bulletin December 2016: eab.li/7v ). Now, however, the Google Maps team have explicitly asked that its ‘Local Guides’ – a community of millions of users who voluntarily collect data – proactively add in wheelchair-accessible location information to maps.
As the Local Guides system works primarily by users answering questions (these questions help gather new data sets that help improve maps), the following calculation is made on a Google blog post announcing the call-out:
“If each of our tens of millions of Local Guides answers three of these questions [about wheelchair-accessible locations] every day for two weeks, we can gather nearly two billion answers to help people who rely on this information every day.”
The blog post was written by Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, a software engineer for the Google Maps, Content and Community team, who also uses a wheelchair. Read the Google blog post in full at the following link: eab.li/7w .
As Blair-Goldensohn points out in the post: “Because anyone can identify and label wheelchair-friendly locations directly on [a Google Map], it’s easy to share this knowledge around the world. But not everyone knows this tool exists.”
The post then lets readers know how to add in this information: “First, make sure your Google Maps Location History is turned on. Then visit ‘Your contributions’ in the upper-left menu, tap ‘Answer questions about a place,’ and indicate whether businesses you’ve visited are wheelchair-friendly.”
Those using devices on the Android operating system can also search for nearby areas around them that don’t have this accessibility info, so that it can be added.