Google Maps Accessibility Features: how you can help

Google Maps has been on point lately. Last year they released filters for accessibility at locations and recently they released accessible routes for wheelchair users. You can now not only see if the place or locations takes credit cards, but also if they have a flat entrance and accessible bathroom. Other apps like WheelMap have attempted and been decently successful at tracking accessibility. Unfortunately most of this data is crowdsourced. The public has to input the accommodation data. Obviously Google has a larger audience, making it easier and faster to source the accessibility data for the app.

Here’s a little tutorial on how to input this data on your own Google Maps app. It will literally take you ONE minute. 

1. Find the location you are currently at (hopefully we are all savvy enough to get to this page)

2. Click on the details bar, right under the directions row tab (1st photo below)

3. Now you will see the About Section and details of the location. At the bottom you see a button to ‘Suggest Changes’ (2nd photo below)

4. Add all the items the location has to offer and click Send! You’ll see you can add all kinds of details about the venue.

  • A few tips:
    • If the bathroom/toilet is up any stairs or through a tiny door – this is not ‘accessible’
    • If the location has even one step to enter – this is not officially accessible. 
    • Some places have wheelchair accessible toilets, but also stairs …yes, this still boggles my mind
    • If you notice a place has very little accessibility…be bold and mention it to the manager (or message me and I’ll gladly write them a note 🙂 I have found many places to be receptive to feedback. 

I challenge everyone to take a few moments to add this data. I know we are all on our phones at least once when we’re out. Not only does it help those with disabilities, but also families and any visitors wanting to know more about the venue.

 

Google Stalking 

Another funny feature on Google maps, that doesn’t really have to do with accessibility, is the daily timeline of where you have been. If you have this feature turned on, your phone tracks your every move via GPS. I find it hilarious because it often thinks I’m riding a bike or driving, when in reality I’m in my wheelchair. Sometimes it also thinks I’m walking. Sadly I don’t think it has a wheelchair riding option.

It did make me realize that I have been a lot of places over the past two months, but it’s also a little creepy. For starters, below is a shot from earlier this week on a day that I had a bunch of errands to run. This describes me perfectly…no real order, just hoping around.

Screenshot 2018-04-05 at 11.15.45
Rolling around Darmstadt like a maniac.

Here’s our first day in Marrakech. The light blue is walking/rolling. My mother was very ambitious about the walking around!

screenshot-2018-04-05-at-11-27-07.png

Screenshot 2018-04-05 at 11.13.15
February view…ya it was a bit insane

So, if you ever want to remind yourself of all the cool places (now labelled accessible or not), check out the timeline on Google. (I swear I don’t work for Google).

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Google Maps Accessibility Features: how you can help

  1. This is awesome! I’d like to share it with the NH Disability Rights Center and Engaging NH, if that’s OK with you.

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