People Helping Computers Helping People: Navigation for People with Mobility Problems by Sharing Accessibility Annotations
Accessibility maps are valuable tools for people with mobility problems navigating in the urban landscape, in particular for first time visitors. However, the costs of establishing and maintaining such maps prohibit widespread use. Moreover, smartphones, GPS positioning and a growing number of open geospatial tools and technology are becoming commodities. Letting users create and augment geospatial data is opening up for a host of novel user generated geospatial services. Maps, or more precisely, the geospatial data they depict, might for instance be used for route planning. For pedestrians, not to say people with mobility problems, such tools are scarce. In this paper, we explore the combination of accessibility maps and route planning for people with mobility problems. To overcome the cost problems of accessibility surveys, we propose a novel concept, OurWay, which allows the users to annotate the accessibility of their surroundings. This user generated content provides a basis for computing satisfactory routes, from one location to another, matching the user’s preferences and needs. We present findings from two experiments, which bear evidence of the validity of the concept, and discuss its potential as a tool for surveying and route planning.
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