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Wheelmap: the wheelchair accessibility crowdsourcing platform

  • Sozialhelden e.V.

Abstract and Figures

Crowdsourcing (geo-) information and participatory GIS are among the current hot topics in research and industry. Various projects are implementing participatory sensing concepts within their workflow in order to benefit from the power of volunteers, and improve their product quality and efficiency. Wheelmap is a crowdsourcing platform where volunteers contribute information about wheelchair-accessible places. This article presents information about the technical framework of Wheelmap, and information on how it could be used in projects dealing with accessibility and/or multimodal transportation.
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S O F T W A R E Open Access
Wheelmap: the wheelchair accessibility
crowdsourcing platform
Amin Mobasheri
, Jonas Deister
and Holger Dieterich
Crowdsourcing (geo-) information and participatory GIS are among the current hot topics in research and industry.
Various projects are implementing participatory sensing concepts within their workflow in order to benefit from the
power of volunteers, and improve their product quality and efficiency. Wheelmap is a crowdsourcing platform
where volunteers contribute information about wheelchair-accessible places. This article presents information
about the technical framework of Wheelmap, and information on how it could be used in projects dealing
with accessibility and/or multimodal transportation.
Keywords: Wheelmap, OpenStreetMap, Open data, Crowdsourcing, VGI, Accessibility
Wheelmap - a map for wheelchair-accessible places is an
initiative of the Sozialhelden, a grassroots organisation
from Berlin, Germany. On Wheelmap
everyone from all
over the world can find and add places and rate them by
using a traffic light system. The map, which is available
since 2010, shall help wheelchair users and people with
mobility impairments to plan their day more effectively.
Currently, more than 800,000 cafés, libraries, swimming
pools, and many more public places have been captured.
While the majority of the places which have been added
so far are located in Germany, the mapping platform
works globally, as it is based on OpenStreetMap (OSM).
The Wheelmap interface is available in Arabic, Danish,
German, Greek, English, Spanish, French, Icelandic,
Italian, Japanese, Swedish, Turkish, Korean, and Polish.
Wheelchairs or purpose-built cars on the one hand,
elevators and ramps on the other allow people with
mobility impairments to plan their day independently
to a great extent. But frequently, the last meters de-
cide whether the trip to the cinema, beer garden or
supermarket was worth the effort. Just one single step
at the entrance can be an insurmountable obstacle,
and this is where Wheelmap comes into play. Users
provide information for other users on how accessible
a destination is. Thereby, the map contributes to an
active and diversified lifestyle for wheelchair users.
People with rollators or buggies benefit from this tool
as well. Furthermore, the aim of Wheelmap is to
make owners of wheelchair-inaccessible public places
aware of the problem. They should be encouraged to
reflect on and improve the accessibility of their
As mentioned earlier, Wheelmap is based on Open-
StreetMap, an open, editable map of the digital open
source map of the world. Everyone can search for
places and provided they have been tagged get in-
formation about how easily accessible the places are.
Those who sign up as a user are able to add and rate
new places. An easy traffic light system marks the
wheelchair accessibility of a place: Green signifies an
unrestricted access e.g. because there are no steps or
there is a permanent ramp, an elevator or other tools
which allow the entrance. Places which are orange-
colored have no toilets but might have a foldable ramp
for example. Places which are red-colored are not ac-
cessible for wheelchair users. In general, the more
people join Wheelmap and add places the more precise
and informative the map gets.
Sozialhelden is an incorporated, not for profit soci-
ety, located in Berlin, Germany. In addition to a small
paid staff, it comprises a network of volunteers en-
gaging in various activities regarding social justice. It
* Correspondence:
GIScience research group, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University,
Heidelberg, Germany
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
Open Geospatial Data,
Software and Standards
© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Mobasheri et al. Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards (2017) 2:27
DOI 10.1186/s40965-017-0040-5
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
is financed by taking part in contests, by receiving
donations from public and private sponsors, and by
supporting Wheelmap-related activities of social
The main objective is to gather information about the
accessibility of public places (points of interest, POI).
Everyone is invited to participate and provide their own
tagging of places on an OSM-based map at the Wheel-
map website.
In the past decade, OpenStreetMap in particular, and
Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) in general,
have gained special attention in various research
projects. Such free and open datasets have been used in
several application domains including routing and navi-
gation [14], transportation studies [5, 6], urban and
environmental challenges [7, 8], as well as disaster man-
agement [9].
So far, several efforts have been done regarding
research studies specifically addressing accessibility
issues using crowdsourced datasets. This is while
there are still research gaps in developing an efficient
framework for accessible transportation. For instance,
in one of the early works, Prandi et al., [10] explored
the potentials of the crowdsourcing communities in
improving data access and services in the field of dis-
able pedestrian mobility. Similar works have been
followed by [1119]. Among those, mPASS [19] pre-
sents a valuable mobile pervasive accessibility social
sensing framework. mPASS collects data about urban
and building accessibility to provide personalized
paths. Their framework is similar to Wheelmap, be-
sides the fact that Wheelmap only focuses on access-
ible points of interests (building, toilets, etc.), while
mPASS also considers accessible routes. In another
study, Salomoni et, al. [16] present the results of field
trials with mobile applications that employing differ-
ent gamification mechanisms. The authors conclude
that some of the apps are able to drive users to pro-
vide more contributions. Further discussions on their
study can be found at [16].
A main concern regarding using crowdsourced data-
sets such as OpenStreetMap is the level of quality
they carry [20]. Several methods exists in assessing
VGI data quality [21]. Among the studies carried out
on using VGI data for urban accessibility, some of
them evaluate, argue and enrich the fitness for
purpose of this data source [2224]. For instance,
Mobasheri et, al. [23] evaluates the completeness of
sidewalk information (as well as other relevant data
for accessibility) in OpenStreetMap database and
discusses the lack of data completeness with applying
extrinsic and intrinsic data analysis. Wheelmap,
among other possibilities, can be used by volunteers
to enrich accessibility information in OpenStreetMap.
Wheelmap has had a great influence in research pro-
jects. Several studies have used or cited Wheelmap as
one of the main crowdsourcing platforms in the ac-
cessibility domain [18, 19, 2531]. Hence, this study
aims to introduce this platform for a better under-
standing and usage in future studies.
Wheelmap architecture
Technically, Wheelmap currently comprises two
major applications (Fig. 1). One is the publicly avail-
able platform for collaborative tagging, and the other
is a platform for developers so that they can test new
functionality and quality-check new data sources (e.g.
sponsored data) before applying it to the live server.
Wheelmap provides a RESTful API to access and
maintain the Wheelmap relevant data within OSM.
The REST requests are to be authorized by an api_-
key, which can be obtained for a Wheelmap account.
Such an account is based on a valid OSM account.
Registration for Wheelmap is offered at Wheelmaps
login website.
Resources at GitHub
Public applications and components of Wheelmap are
hosted as open source at GitHub.
Besides the standard web interface, the main applica-
tions for the mobile collaborative crowd-sourcing process
are (Fig. 2):
Wheelmap-android An android app for
Wheelmap, with full editing and search capabilities,
direction pointers as well as a tablet version.
Wheelmap-iPhone An iOS version of Wheelmap
Recently added functionality includes helpful services
such as:
Users can add images to a place. Images can be added
from either the camera or from the photo album.
The Get engagedfunction shows unmarked places
Users can share the link to any place on
via Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS.
Users can ask their network and friends via
Facebook, Twitter and email if they know the
wheelchair accessibility of an unmarked place and
can tag it accordingly.
The Routefunction shows users a route from
their current position to a certain place on In the list view, a user can see
Mobasheri et al. Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards (2017) 2:27 Page 2 of 7
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how far away a place is from the current position
of the user.
Wheelmap, as well as OSM, is a Ruby on Rails
plication. Wheelmap therefore has created a ruby
client, named Rosemary, to easily access the
current OpenStreetMap API. Furthermore, Maki
is a
point of interest icon set made especially for use with
MapBox maps. Each icon is designed 3 times for 12,
18, and 24 pixels wide/tall. Style files
for ArcGIS
10.1+ are available, including both Desktop and
Server versions, and standard and high-resolution
versions of the PNG renders.
The publicly documented RESTful API of Wheelmap
is the most appropriate component to integrate
Wheelmap data and facilities into new or foreign ap-
plications (Table 1).
Development and testing of applications is done
against a sandbox branch of OSM, which is accessed
by the RESTful Wheelmap API at http://staging.wheel- Requests have to be authenticated and
Fig. 2 Android app for tablet (left), iPhone app (right)
Fig. 1 The two Wheelmap applications with the Sandbox DevelopersPlayground (left), and the live operational platform (right)
Mobasheri et al. Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards (2017) 2:27 Page 3 of 7
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thus authorized by a valid api_key. Changes made by
the staging API at least appear in the recommended
OSM sandbox for editing, which is accessible at The effects of
test runs appear at this site in the same way as they
will appear in production at live OSM.
Results and discussion
The tagging process
crowdsourced tagging platforms [3134]. When view-
ing a map, users will be shown all available POIs from
a set of 12 categories (Fig. 3). Users may deselect
those that they are not interested in and may contrib-
ute their own information by clicking on one of the
icons. Clicking on a gray icon, i.e. one that has not yet
received an accessibility value, results in a pop-up
window where they can immediately choose one of
the three presented options resulting in a subsequent
green, orange or red colouring of the icon. Wheelmap
users may only provide a new accessibility tag (colour-
ing) without any constraints (e.g. no registration
required) only when providing further information
(via the Detailsbutton) Fig. 4a and c. This free
process of tagging and re-tagging is proof of the high
trust of the providers in the responsibility of the
Wheelmap user community and would ease the
process of data entry.
Table 1 Overview of the resources of the RESTful API
API Docs The documentation pages itself
Resources GET the base API URI - information about sub-resources.
Assets GET the assets collection.
Categories GET the categories collection.
Locales GET a collection of all available locales.
Nodes GET the nodes collection.
- Filter nodes by a search term.
- Filter nodes by a bounding box,
- Filter nodes by a wheelchair status
POST Create a new node.
PUT Update an existing node.
Update the wheelchair status of an existing node.
NodesTypes GET the node type collection.
This resource can also be nested within a category.
To just return the node types associated with the
given category.
Users POST Authenticate a given user with email &
password and return the users API key.
POST Declare that an authenticated user has wilfully
accepted wheelmap.orgs terms of usage and privacy
Photos GET a collection of photos of a user or a node.
POST Upload a new Photo for the given node.
Fig. 3 A map showing POIs in four different colours
Mobasheri et al. Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards (2017) 2:27 Page 4 of 7
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Clicking on an already tagged non-gray icon returns
a pop-up window as shown in Fig. 4 (c). This window
shows the existing value for the tag, but allows the
user to change it. This ease of changing tags will pos-
sibly have repercussions in later debates in the project
about possible means of securing data quality and in-
tegrity. Interesting in this respect is also the button
in the lower right corner of pictures (a) and (c) in
Fig. 4. This is used in order to explicitly object to the
existent assessment of a place, and to suggest another
one. Geographical areas or particular users with ex-
ceptionally high rates of changes or change requests
should give rise to major concerns and possibly ac-
tions to be taken from the providersside.
Clicking on the Detailsbutton in the windows (a)
and (c) in Figure triggers a window as depicted in
Fig. 5. The photos of the tagged barbershop demon-
strates why the shop is only partiallyaccessible, e.g.
because one has to take a small step in the entry pas-
sage (there is a comment in red font by another user
that the place is *not* accessible). The right column
of this window shows the location of the place on a
map, its address, and a list of nearby alternative
This article presents the framework and functional-
ities of Wheelmap one of the promising existing
platforms for the mobility impaired. Since its first re-
lease, Wheelmap has gained great interest and atten-
tion by the accessibility communities. Nowadays,
Wheelmap has become the worldsmostextensive
database on wheelchair accessible places; a database
with more than 800,000 points of interest which have
been rated by an active community gathered around
the project. The Wheelmap project is one of several
Fig. 4 aTagging a new point (POI). bSelectable POI categories. cFurther describe an already tagged point
Mobasheri et al. Open Geospatial Data, Software and Standards (2017) 2:27 Page 5 of 7
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projects being run by a team at the non-profit organ-
isation Sozialhelden. In order to ensure that this am-
bitious idea could grow into a successful project,
Wheelmaps activity was designed for scalability from
the very beginning. The Wheelmap team has won
numerous national and international prizes. Among
those are the Deutscher Bürgerpreis 2010 and World
Summit Award Mobile 2012 by United Nations. It
also received the Vodafone Accessibility Award 2011
from Neelie Kroes, formerly European Commissioner
for Digital Agenda.
The authors would like to thank all the team members in Sozialhelden as
well as project partners in European FP7 project CAP4Access, who have in
any way supported and contributed to the Wheelmap project. We are also
thankful to all the volunteers who use the service and provide accessibility
information. We acknowledge OpenStreetMap project and its volunteers
whom have provided the means and basic infrastructure for development of
Wheelmap. We acknowledge the financial support of the Deutsche
Forschungsgemeinschaft and Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg within
the funding programme Open Access Publishing.
Authors have received funding from the European Communitys Seventh
Framework Programme (FP7/20072013) under grant agreement No. 612096
Availability of data and materials
All applications and components of Wheelmap are hosted as open source at
This includes Wheelmap-android,
RESTful API of Wheelmap.
AM has written the article. JD and HD have proofread and provided comments
that improved the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Not applicable
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Fig. 5 Wheelmap tag info for a barbershop (category partially accessible), after selecting Detailsbutton in the menu of Fig. 4a
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Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in
published maps and institutional affiliations.
Author details
GIScience research group, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University,
Heidelberg, Germany.
Sozialhelden, Berlin, Germany.
Received: 18 October 2017 Accepted: 8 November 2017
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... Another similar case study is [20], that describes a mobile application to help people in wheelchairs to plan their routes efficiently. Due to the crowdsourcing approach, any user can add new places to the app and evaluate the already registered ones. ...
... Accessibility information comes from a Geographic Information System (GIS), powered by the municipal council in partnership with specialised institutions in each disability segment covered by the app. In the GIS, each street segment is [19] Not specified Stairs, steps, ramps, curbs Wheelchair users, seniors and pregnant women Wheelmap [20] Open Street Map Rest API Places accessibility, street obstacles Wheelchair users WebServer [21] Dijkstra Street slop, length, permanent or temporary obstacles, pavement State ...
Full-text available
In recent decades, urban mobility has assumed a need for adaptation due to the more significant congestion experienced in cities and the growing focus on sustainability. Several solutions are proposed to help citizens move around in an urban environment. Most are not yet aware of the universal and accessible aspect that these solutions must have. This paper proposes a route support system embedded in a mobile application, Viana+Acessível, using a multi-objective approach. The application aims to promote accessible mobility within the city, contributing to physical and psychological well-being for citizens with reduced mobility, temporary or permanently, such as people with spectrum autism disorder, the visually impaired, wheelchair users, pregnant, and the elderly. For the evaluation of the algorithms, four objective measures were considered: accessibility, slope, time, and length of the paths. The tests carried out with different routing algorithms showed that the A-Star presented the fastest results in terms of execution time compared to the Dijkstra, Floyd–Warshall, and Bellman–Ford. When analysing in a multi-objective approach, time, slope and accessibility were demonstrated to be conflicting objectives. Bi-objective and tri-objective were applied and Pareto front was explored. Graphical abstract
... The built environment must be adapted and planned for the benefit of functionally impaired people (Vovk, 2000;Hanson, 2005), and the accessibility to buildings or the safe multimodal mobility of people in the urban environment must also be considered (Mobasheri et al., 2017;Szaszák & Kecskés, 2020). ...
... Users can also help create interactive maps of accessibility of public and other buildings (i.e., through crowdsourcing). A good example is the Wheelmap app (, an interactive map for smartphones that allows users to provide information on how easily accessible a selected building or destination is (Mobasheri et al., 2017). The map is based on the OpenStreetMap open-source platform, which only allows users to add information to the maps. ...
... Crowdsourcing or participatory mapping is very beneficial for the community from a small scale to a large scale and can improve the quality of spatial data. The previous research for crowdsourcing or participatory Geographic Information System (GIS) has introduced WheelMap as a service to visualise wheelchair-accessible places with the same principal idea as Diet Map, which provides both mobile and website apps (Mobasheri et al., 2017). Moreover, humans as sensors are the most important components to support Volunteered Geographical Information (VGI). ...
... Existing services, such as Google Maps and FourSquare, facilitate information collection by allowing users to report accessibility information, such as wheelchair accessibility in specific places [15]. Wheelmap [40] is a dedicated platform for reporting wheelchair accessibility of places by crowdsourcing. A few other studies have combined manually reported accessibility data with heterogeneous data, such as sensor data (Section 2.4) [9,43], public transportation data [34], and authoritative data [43]. ...
... In the development of the control system for assisting the electric wheelchair, there are various concepts in the design such as the development of an image processing aid system to help drive a wheelchair [33], using LIDAR to autonomous wheelchair [34], building a wheelchair navigation control system for indoor travel [35], map application for wheelchair [36], decision-making program for selecting a best compromise direction for a wheelchair [37], a study of speed profiles in wheelchair [38] of wheelchair mobility abilities. ...
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This research aimed to design and construct an electric wheelchair with mecanum wheels that can move in any desired direction and speed based on the joystick controller. This represents a significant improvement over traditional electric wheelchairs, which are limited to linear movement in a single direction. The research contribution of this study is the development of an electric wheelchair with mecanum wheels that allows for improved mobility and independence for wheelchair users. The design includes a joystick controller and the use of an average filter to improve the processing of the joystick. This represents a significant improvement over traditional electric wheelchairs, which are limited to linear movement in a single direction. The design and construction of the electric wheelchair followed the ISO 2570-2555 guidelines and utilized Arduino DUE as the main processor for controlling the rotation of the wheels. The gain of speed and angle of the analog joystick were determined using the technique of finding the resultant vector to control the direction and speed of the wheels. The resulting electric wheelchair had a standard structure and was able to move in the desired direction and speed based on the movement of the joystick controller, demonstrating the success of the design and construction in achieving its objective. In conclusion, the development of joystick control for electric wheelchairs is important and allows for the creation of significantly novel and improved designs such as the electric wheelchair with mecanum wheels presented in this research.
Independent mobility of people with motor disabilities is fundamental for their daily activities. However, the mobility of these people is often restricted by diverse environmental and social factors. In addition to static factors, temporal factors such as the presence of the crowd could reduce the accessibility on the sidewalk. Hence, in this paper, we focus on the accessibility of sidewalks for people with mobility impairment, specifically for manual wheelchair users, in the presence of crowd. The paper aims at understanding how environmental factors, including temporal factors such as crowd density, affect the independent mobility of individuals with mobility impairments. The proposed method evaluates each user's confidence level in navigating different sidewalk components in the presence of different population densities and uses a fuzzy-based model for accessibility assessment. Besides the accessible maps for different population densities, a similarity index has been applied to compare the impact of crowd on the accessibility of sidewalk components. The findings suggest that, the direction of the movement of people have a significant effect on the level of accessibility of each segment. Moreover, while the presence of crowds is discouraging in some situations, it improves accessibility in others.KeywordsAccessibilityCrowdWheelchair users’ mobility
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Finding relevant geospatial information is increasingly critical because of the growing volume of geospatial data available within the emerging “Big Data” era. Users are expecting that the availability of massive datasets will create more opportunities to uncover hidden information and answer more complex queries. This is especially the case with routing and navigation services where the ability to retrieve points of interest and landmarks make the routing service personalized, precise, and relevant. In this paper, we propose a new geospatial information approach that enables the retrieval of implicit information, i.e., geospatial entities that do not exist explicitly in the available source. We present an information broker that uses a rule-based spatial reasoning algorithm to detect topological relations. The information broker is embedded into a framework where annotations and mappings between OpenStreetMap data attributes and external resources, such as taxonomies, support the enrichment of queries to improve the ability of the system to retrieve information. Our method is tested with two case studies that leads to enriching the completeness of OpenStreetMap data with footway crossing points-of-interests as well as building entrances for routing and navigation purposes. It is concluded that the proposed approach can uncover implicit entities and contribute to extract required information from the existing datasets.
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As it is widely accepted, cycling tends to produce health benefits and reduce air pollution. Policymakers encourage people to use bikes by improving cycling facilities as well as developing bicycle-sharing systems (BSS). It is increasingly interesting to investigate how environmental factors influence the cycling behavior of users of bicycle-sharing systems, as users of bicycle-sharing systems tend to be different from regular cyclists. Although earlier studies have examined effects of safety and convenience on the cycling behavior of regular riders, they rarely explored effects of safety and convenience on the cycling behavior of BSS riders. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate how road safety, convenience, and public safety affect the cycling behavior of BSS riders by controlling for other environmental factors. Specifically, in this study, we investigated the impacts of environmental characteristics, including population density, employment density, land use mix, accessibility to point-of-interests (schools, shops, parks and gyms), road infrastructure, public transit accessibility, road safety, convenience, and public safety on the usage of BSS. Additionally, for a more accurate measure of public transit accessibility, road safety, convenience, and public safety, we used spatiotemporally varying measurements instead of spatially varying measurements, which have been widely used in earlier studies. We conducted an empirical investigation in Chicago with cycling data from a BSS called Divvy. In this study, we particularly attempted to answer the following questions: (1) how traffic accidents and congestion influence the usage of BSS; (2) how violent crime influences the usage of BSS; and (3) how public transit accessibility influences the usage of BSS. Moreover, we tried to offer implications for policies aiming to increase the usage of BSS or for the site selection of new docking stations. Empirical results demonstrate that density of bicycle lanes, public transit accessibility, and public safety influence the usage of BSS, which provides answers for our research questions. Empirical results also suggest policy implications that improving bicycle facilities and reducing the rate of violent crime rates tend to increase the usage of BSS. Moreover, some environmental factors could be considered in selecting a site for a new docking station.
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Nowadays, Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) has increasingly gained attractiveness to both amateur users and professionals. Using data generated from the crowd has become a hot topic for several application domains including transportation. However, there are concerns regarding the quality of such datasets. As one of the most famous crowdsourced mapping platforms, we analyze the fitness for use of OpenStreetMap (OSM) database for routing and navigation of people with limited mobility. We assess the completeness of OSM data regarding sidewalk information. Relevant attributes for sidewalk information such as sidewalk width, incline, surface texture, etc. are considered, and through both extrinsic and intrinsic quality analysis methods, we present the results of fitness for use of OSM data for routing services of disabled persons. Based on empirical results, it is concluded that OSM data of relatively large spatial extents inside all studied cities could be an acceptable region of interest to test and evaluate wheelchair routing and navigation services, as long as other data quality parameters such as positional accuracy and logical consistency are checked and proved to be acceptable. We present an extended version of OSMatrix web service and explore how it is employed to perform spatial and temporal analysis of sidewalk data completeness in OSM. The tool is beneficial for piloting activities, whereas the pilot site planners can query OpenStreetMap and visualize the degree of sidewalk data availability in a certain region of interest. This would allow identifying the areas that data are mostly missing and plan for data collection events. Furthermore, empirical results of data completeness for several OSM data indicators and their potential relation to sidewalk data completeness are presented and discussed. Finally, the article ends with an outlook for future research study in this area.
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With the development of information and communications technology, user-generated content and crowdsourced data are playing a large role in studies of transport and public health. Recently, Strava, a popular website and mobile app dedicated to tracking athletic activity (cycling and running), began offering a data service called Strava Metro, designed to help transportation researchers and urban planners to improve infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. Strava Metro data has the potential to promote studies of cycling and health by indicating where commuting and non-commuting cycling activities are at a large spatial scale (street level and intersection level). The assessment of spatially varying effects of air pollution during active travel (cycling or walking) might benefit from Strava Metro data, as a variation in air pollution levels within a city would be expected. In this paper, to explore the potential of Strava Metro data in research of active travel and health, we investigate spatial patterns of non-commuting cycling activities and associations between cycling purpose (commuting and non-commuting) and air pollution exposure at a large scale. Additionally, we attempt to estimate the number of non-commuting cycling trips according to environmental characteristics that may help identify cycling behavior. Researchers who are undertaking studies relating to cycling purpose could benefit from this approach in their use of cycling trip data sets that lack trip purpose. We use the Strava Metro Nodes data from Glasgow, United Kingdom in an empirical study. Empirical results reveal some findings that (1) when compared with commuting cycling activities, non-commuting cycling activities are more likely to be located in outskirts of the city; (2) spatially speaking, cyclists riding for recreation and other purposes are more likely to be exposed to relatively low levels of air pollution than cyclists riding for commuting; and (3) the method for estimating of the number of non-commuting cycling activities works well in this study. The results highlight: (1) a need for policymakers to consider how to improve cycling infrastructure and road safety in outskirts of cities; and (2) a possible way of estimating the number of non-commuting cycling activities when the trip purpose of cycling data is unknown.
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Although geo-crowdsourcing approaches provide an opportunity to collect and share environmental accessibility information for people with disabilities, it is not clear whether individuals from different user groups have similar or different behavior while contributing volunteered geographic information about environmental accessibility. In this paper, we present a case study to investigate how users (including elderly people, wheelchair users, blind and visually impaired people as well as volunteers) annotate environmental accessibility information in their journey. We found that subjects from different user groups had different behavior while annotating accessibility information and volunteers who do not have a disability are not good at spotting environmental accessibility issues. With these findings, we conclude a series of insights about how to collect collaborative environmental accessibility for designers and developers.
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With the ubiquity of advanced web technologies and location-sensing hand held devices, citizens regardless of their knowledge or expertise, are able to produce spatial information. This phenomenon is known as volunteered geographic information (VGI). During the past decade VGI has been used as a data source supporting a wide range of services, such as environmental monitoring, events reporting, human movement analysis, disaster management, etc. However, these volunteer-contributed data also come with varying quality. Reasons for this are: data is produced by heterogeneous contributors, using various technologies and tools, having different level of details and precision, serving heterogeneous purposes, and a lack of gatekeepers. Crowd-sourcing, social, and geographic approaches have been proposed and later followed to develop appropriate methods to assess the quality measures and indicators of VGI. In this article, we review various quality measures and indicators for selected types of VGI and existing quality assessment methods. As an outcome, the article presents a classification of VGI with current methods utilized to assess the quality of selected types of VGI. Through these findings, we introduce data mining as an additional approach for quality handling in VGI.
Conference Paper
Social innovations are increasingly being seen as a way of compensating for insufficiencies of both, state and market to create inclusive and accessible environments. In this paper we explore crowdsourcing accessibility information as a form of social innovation, requiring adequate engagement strategies that fit the skills of the intended group of volunteers and ensure the needed levels of data accuracy and reliability. The tools that were used for crowdsourcing included printed maps, mobile apps for collective tagging, blogs for reflection and visualizations of changing mapping statuses.
Conference Paper
Wayfinding is a common task routinely performed by people traveling between unfamiliar locations, but can be a challenge for people with disabilities. In order to be able to travel safely and comfortably, people with physical disabilities depend on the accessibility of the built environment. It is through these accessibility elements that people who use wheelchairs can find their ways in unfamiliar environments. When used by people with disabilities, wayfinding and navigation services must contain accessibility data and support functions to utilize this data. However, while there are standards, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, upon which accessibility data can be based or derived, currently there is no automated metric for evaluating the level of accessibility for pathways. To fill this gap, this paper proposes a Route Accessibility Index as a metric for evaluating a pathway’s accessibility and discusses its value in a wayfinding case study.