In mid-September 2015 the CAP4Access project team, co-ordinated by empirica, took some time off from developing and piloting new tools and headed to Madrid, where they met the members of the project’s Advisory Board of Experts to discuss about crowdsourcing and online mapping for accessibility. The occasion was the 5th International Congress on Tourism for All in Madrid, a major European event for discussing the way forward in accessible tourism and related technological innovations. Accessible tourism is becoming a mainstream concern in more and more countries, as the baby boomer generation enters retirement age without losing their eagerness to travel. No wonder, then, that geoweb applications such as Wheelmap and OpenRouteService’s new wheelchair routing feature meet with a lot of interest from stakeholders.
The workshop sought, in particular, to contribute to an exchange and deeper understanding between two major groups of stakeholders: firstly, technology developers and providers of data infrastructure (including the OpenStreetMap community) and, secondly, end-users of information on accessibility of the built environment, such as people with limited mobility and organisations representing their interests. Among the tools the consortium presented was the revised wheelchair navigation app for mobile phones, which helps persons with limited mobility select the best route to reach a destination and guides them there. It is fed by Heidelberg University’s OpenRouteService and integrates information from Wheelmap.org about accessibility of places. Work is ongoing on using landmarks (rather than distances) for providing instructions en-route.
Thanks are due to Advisory Board Members Dr Ivor Ambrose (ENAT), Dr David Banes (MADA Qatar Assistive Technology Center), Michiel Desmet and Karl Thiry (On Wheels Belgium), Martina Götz (City of Heidelberg), Henk Hoff (OSM Foundation), Angelika Laburda (ENAT) and Tatiana Alemí¡n Selva (PREDIF) for providing the project with hands-on advice and support.