Bright Data, Big City
At NEXT11 Raul Krauthausen confessed his admiration of data in a very particular context – the way it can be used to help wheelchair users.
At NEXT11 Raul Krauthausen confessed his admiration of data in a very particular context – the way it can be used to help wheelchair users. Mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, assist around 185 million people worldwide – among them 1.6 million in Germany alone. Users have a constant battle with issues such as high shelves in supermarkets, out-of-reach mailboxes or inaccessible cash machines.
A wheelchair user himself, Krauthausen additionally reported that steps and stairs often made entering a café or bar difficult or even impossible. To avoid this, those with a disability were forced into constantly revisiting venues and facilities where they knew wheelchair access was possible – which could become very boring! It was a situation that gave birth in Raul’s mind to a radical new idea.
Through crowdfunding he began Wheelmap.org. Essentially this is a map that displays facilities, shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues that are ‘wheelchair friendly’. It is highly interactive, in that users can add suitable places, or blacklist those that are not suitable. It is based on Openstreetmap, and could theoretically list every appropriate venue worldwide.
Since its founding in September 2010, over 50,000 places have been tracked and Wheelmap.org is available in 9 languages (including, for Star Trek fans, Klingon!) So that users can easily find suitable places when on the move, an app has been developed for Androids and iPhones.Wheelmap.org is not solely intended to help those in wheelchairs, their friends and families. It also proves exceptionally useful for older people with walking aids, and anyone pushing a heavy baby buggy.