In a joint event of OpenStreetMap members and the National Federation of Disabled Persons’ Associations MEOSZ a group of mappers made a tour through Budapest in order to check up on the local wheelchair accessibility. On this occasion, the initiators also featured the Hungarian version of the Wheelmap web app.
It was the 10th birthday of the OpenStreetMap and one of the hottest summer days in Budapest. A group of OSM mappers and activists from the National Federation of Disabled Persons’ Associations MEOSZ came together to start their cooperation on a map showing the accessibility of places in Budapest.
For this purpose, Wheelmap was introduced as a tool next to the OSM itself to accomplish their mission. The web app had been translated and launched right before the event, thanks to the ambitious and motivated initiators from the OpenStreetMap community.
Looking at the results of their one-hour-tour, their project cooperation proves to be backed with a large motivation indeed: In the following week after the event about 570 newly coloured places appeared within the Hungarian state boundaries of Wheelmap.org!
More places accessible than expected
Kristóf Bihari, main translation force and member of the prep team summarized the course of action:
“After a simple primer about mapping we set off to the city. We divided the neighbouring streets to parts that could be surveyed in an hour. We had also prepared little mapping “packages”: an overview map of the given area, larger-scale prints of the same area for drawing and taking notes (via FieldPapers.org), a paper ruler for measuring entrances and two sets of forms for surveying POIs and streets, all netly packed in a cardboard folder.
We formed groups so that each group would have at least one wheelchair user and at least one experienced OSM mapper and a varying number of volunteers. The 1-hour limit flew by faster than we tought: we had to wait a lot at most places we checked for asking to see if they had a ramp for the wheelchair, if they had a toilet for wheelchairs, etc.
But apart from the waiting, we made some good experiences. About half the places we checked were accessible with wheelchair. That’s more than what we expected. After having some delicious cake, the experienced OSM mappers wanted to collect the mapping packages to insert them into the online map but much to our surprise a lot of the participants chose to process the result of their groups themselves, using Wheelmap and/or JOSM.
The tour finished with a littler “after-party” in a quiet open-air restaurant . We think the event was a great success, and although we did not map the whole downtown, we started something good. :)
I think, the main positive outcome of this event is that it had been the kick-off for quite an important collaboration. We’ll help MEOSZ develop a map of accesibility of places, based on their database of “official accessiblity statements”. Our efforts currently also include the perparation of a guide for new mappers. For there seem to be about 100 people from MEOSZ who want to become active in mapping more places and towns for this project.”