Back in December, Google finally added accessibility details to Maps. It was a long awaited addition, but an extremely welcome one for the more than three million people in the U.S. who require wheelchair accessibility. As we noted at the time, however, the available information still left a lot to be desired. Maps has currently collected accessibility data for almost seven million places, but even with databases like Wheelmap, there were still some pretty big gaps across the country.
This week, Google’s looking to speed the process up a bit by crowdsourcing the dataset. Now Android users can open up Google Maps and enter that information for a location themselves. The relevant information is located under the “Accessibility” tab in “Your Contributions.” From there, users can add information about whether a spot has a wheelchair accessible entrance, elevator, restroom and more.
Once added, that information will be available through Google Maps and search on mobile and the desktop in the Accessibility section of a location’s description. That information is viewable on all platforms, though Google apparently doesn’t have a timeline for when desktop and iOS users will be able to contribute to the growing database.
As we noted in our earlier post, the information continues to extremely important for people who rely on wheelchairs to get around. Despite the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires access for new buildings, those constructed before its 1993 aren’t required to adhere to the same standards, meaning access can often be a bit of a crapshoot for older locations — a fact that those of us who don’t have the same sort of accessibility issues can too often take for granted.