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Better maps are in the works for the disability communityPeople who use wheelchairs have a hard time finding out what's accessible. A slew of startups are trying to change that.
For people like Mark Bookman who use a wheelchair, just getting around requires lots of planning. Getting in the door may not be an issue but once inside things can still be tricky for anyone with a disability. Well, I keep track of the number of floors. The number of stairwells, the number of elevators. Bookman who's getting his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania is part of a growing movement to use mobile apps to collect information about accessibility and share it with the people who need it. That's out of reach for a wheelchair user. He created an app called, the accessibility mapping project, he and other volunteers visit each building to collect the data. Open was born with a rare degenerative condition similar AOS, in the last, couple of years, he is had to use a wheel chair full time. He said changes to his body, have made him realise how accessibility, may mean different things to different people. I'm in wheel chair so I need a door to be a certain size, I need there to be A push playte, but I can't think from everyone else's point-of-view. But if we have ever want being able to contribute, they're all understanding of what access is. Then we got a much more robust complete picture. And I'm going to look for a place to eat for dinner Sharon Pennock is a disability rights advocate and community organizer in suburban Philadelphia. She's used several mapping apps to help her find a place to host events that are accessible to everyone. So you could rate the entryway. Now she's doing her own site surveys and updating the apps. This is her second visit to a community center in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Since we were there last, there's actually been a piece of furniture added. That blocks the entrance to the bathroom, so a wheelchair user would not be able to get in there right now. [UNKNOWN] is grateful that the developers created these apps, but she says many are still buggy or they don't provide enough information. It's frustrating. She'd rather just fire up Google Maps and find what she needs. She may soon get her wish. Google just announced it's adding routes for wheelchair users to its maps. The fact that Google is now beginning to collect that information is exciting to me, and I hope that the places that pull information from Google, will be pulling all of that information as well. For Bookman, it's all about raising awareness And opening a dialog. Starting those conversations between what does access look like at Penn? What does access look like at Penn, including in Philadelphia? And what does access look like at Penn including Pennsylvania, the US, the world, is the conversation that I want to start. [MUSIC]