CAP4Access e-Newsletter No. 2 – 2015 (Part 1, Geoinfo for Mobility Impaired

CAP4Access e-Newsletter No. 2, 2015 (Part 1)

First tools released + + + “Mapping parties” raise awareness for disability issues

Dear Readers,

The CAP4Access project has kick-started its second year by publishing first versions of a range of tools. They are intended to raise awareness about accessibility of the built environment and for providing concrete support to people with limited mobility in overcoming barriers to access in the city.

December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In 2014 the UN chose “Sustainable Development: the Promise of Technology” as the day’s theme. The partners of the CAP4Access project are exploring some of the possibilities that technology offers to people with mobility impairments. Hence, three of the project’s four pilot sites marked this day by organising so-called “mapping parties” to engage with locals. A fourth mapping event took place in pilot city Elche in March 2015.

Finding a toilet when needed is a problem for anyone out there. People in wheelchairs carry the additional burden of finding a toilet that is accessible for them. To address this requirement, CAP4Access partner Sozialhelden is currently developing a feature, to be integrated in Wheelmap shortly, which will make it much more straightforward to identify an accessible toilet both on-the-spot (when out and about) and in advance (when planning trips).

Read about these items in this second newsletter of the European CAP4Access project.

The CAP4Access Team

First versions of CAP4Access tools available

A range of tools newly developed within the project have been published at the beginning of 2015. These include above all a mobile tagging app, called the CAP4Access Tagging App, developed by GIScience Heidelberg University. It offers volunteer contributors great functionality in terms of entering new tags and attributes to the OpenStreetMap (OSM) database. It also provides search facilities and visual representation of tags. For the support of routing and navigation for people with limited mobility, Heidelberg University’s OpenRouteService (ORS) platform was enhanced by a wheelchair option. A mobile client has been newly developed for enabling wheelchair users to retrieve navigation information en-route (the beta version for Android smartphones is available here ). The mobile client links with OSM and Wheelmap for selecting destinations and allows user to select personal preferences for the routes generated. Visualisation of accessibility related information can be a powerful means for raising awareness about the issue and for motivating local stakeholders to become active in addressing barriers to access. CAP4Access partner Fraunhofer-IAIS is developing Viz-Dashboard. This is an application that allows an integrated view and management of different visualisations. It includes for example comparisons of cities according to availability of information on accessibility and the share of tagged buildings found to be inaccessible for people with limited mobility. Read more about these and other CAP4Access tools in our Deliverable 3.3 which you can download from

Reports from mapping parties

On December 3, 2014, CAP4Access pilot sites, London, Vienna and Heidelberg threw so-called “mapping parties” in order to raise awareness for disability issues and to collect valuable accessibility information in these cities. The fourth pilot site, Elche in Spain’s Valencia province, followed in March 2015. People with and without disabilities were invited to take part in a variety of activities, to learn about the (in)accessibility of their cities and to add information to, the worldwide map for wheelchair accessible places – and to have fun and get to know new people, of course! Turnout was good, everyone had fun, and the OpenStreetMap and definitely profited from the important data that was added to them during the events.


During the mapping party in Heidelberg about 20 participants got acquainted with the hows and whys of mapping and tagging wheelchair accessible places on the OpenStreetMap and on After an introduction to the topic by a researcher of Heidelberg University’s GIScience research group, the participants split up into two groups. One group braved the weather and used their smartphones to tag the accessibility of places around the University campus on The other group stayed indoors and edited the OpenStreetMap with sidewalk information using the GIScience Institute’s PCs.



Across London the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was celebrated with a series of mapping parties, wheelchair access walks, and events for the empowerment of disabled people – all organised by CAP4Access partner, Mapping For Change. The day provided a great opportunity to engage with a variety of different groups, including students, third sector organisations, and local authorities. In Croydon, students from a local special school took to the streets to map accessible locations around the town centre, and discuss the provision of access facilities with shop keepers and restaurant staff. Students divided into groups of three or four and took on individual roles such as photographer, journalist and mapper. Chilly temperatures didn’t stop the group of eager volunteers from making their views about the importance of accessibility known!

Read more at or check out our video from the day’s activities at .


The Vienna event was hosted by Austrian CAP4Access partner ZSI (Centre for Social Innovation). A wheelchair user introduced participants to the different aspects that must be considered when rating the accessibility of locations, pointing out that certain, easily overlooked, details can make all the difference in practise. This applies for example to swinging doors to otherwise accessible places or small steps inside of a place which deny access to the toilet. The mapping tour was done in groups of three to five people. Wheelchairs were available for borrowing by those who have never sat in one before so they could make their own experiences of getting about in this unfamiliar manner. The groups braved the cold and rainy weather and toured the area for up to two hours, before gathering together for hot tea and some intensive discussions.



In the fourth pilot city, Elche, a mapping party took place on 14 March 2015, hosted by Spanish project partners Polibienestar Research Institute from the University of Valencia in cooperation with Elche City Council. Preparatory fieldwork was already conducted in February, during which the project team added more than 800 so-called POIs (points of interest) across Elche’s historical town centre such as shops, restaurants, pubs and touristic places to OSM. During the day, participants tagged places either directly using the Wheelmap app on their smartphone or alternatively on map print-outs, which made sure that citizens of all ages and ICT-skills could join in. The event attracted a lot of interest in local media.





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