Google getting serious about mapping access is good news in ways you may not expect.
When I saw the piece linked too below I had a reaction that will have been similar in many households where there’s at least one person with mobility and access needs based around their disability. So, obviously, anything that helps get accurate information out there about access to buildings has to be good news. But that is even more important when the delivery of that information is the most used, most powerful search engine on earth and generally thought of as one of the leading innovators of our time.
Google matters. Probably too much say it’s critics who point to issues around search result rankings and strange looking vehicles wandering down your street mapping everything in right for 3D rendering of ‘down your way’. But when Google Maps sets out to help increase accessibility information, yep that matters. However, I then found myself wondering if this really is a sign that society is at last taking access information seriously ? It’s a long road this one. Hotels are still light years away from where they should be in terms of getting information about accessible facilities onto their websites and in turn those mega indexing and search sites that promise you the chespest room in town.
But a handful of hotel chains now feature accessible room in their dropdown box preferences. Public sector buildings are improving the visibility of access signage and online information. Transport providers the same and tho 72 step free tube stations in London remains a small number, the fact that this includes a number of key ‘hubs’ in the city is crucial.
Heres the thing. We badly need the likes of Google Maps to lead the way on highlighting accessibility information. It’s influence is huge. Where Google goes others follow. We need more video access guides of tourist venues, hotel accessible rooms, transport hubs and a lot more besides. We need organizations to see and understand that adding accessibility into your Apps delivery is a good thing.
If Google Maps can go to the trouble so should you. And there you have it, this development at Google Maps will do more than get you instant online information about whether the building you want to get into is accessible and once in, can you go the loo ? Nope, it will shine a light on the whole business of integrating access information into every day life. Not too scruffy that as far as I’m concerned anyway !!
Heres what Google Maps is doing:
Cheers Mark, Rustyman