Sunday, September 29, 2013

AXSmap volunteers upload reviews about Wheelchair accessibility

Today I took part in AXS Map's first Vancouver community mapping day, doing Yelp-style reviews about the degree of wheelchair accessibility being offered by some stores and restaurants. We were helping to test an application being developed by Jason Da Silva, an independent film maker and activist (and fellow Emily Carr alumnus). The above 1 1/2 minute video describes the project.

Jason lives and works in New York City. He started this mapping project as a positive, useful response to the frustration of trying to live an ordinary life using a scooter in a place with few public services that are truly wheel-chair accessible. He visualized a tool that would save him time by telling him whether or not he could get in a door before he found himself blocked by a couple of stairs. Working with Google Maps he invites people to contribute Yelp-style reviews that filter the range of available establishments for accessibility. Stars are assigned regarding washrooms and ease of access from the street, and reviewers can also choose to comment further.

I had a good time, seeing my familiar territory with a new perspective, in the company of Ray, another volunteer reviewer, and Tom, who was capturing us on video.

It didn't take us long to drop in and upload reviews on almost a dozen establishments on Granville Island. I was glad that I could recommend the GI Gelato and Coffee shop, for more than their Sugar-free Raspberry!

This is just the beginning of the mapping process in Vancouver, as well as other cities in North America. If you would like to sign up to become a reviewer, follow this link to the AXS Map website

Jason is also here at VIFF, the Vancouver International Film Festival, to screen his award winning film "When I Walk", about his life with MS. Here is the 2 1/2 minute trailer.

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