Help Collect Wheelchair Access Data in NYC

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Next week we’ll launch MapNYC, a contest for New Yorkers to collect all the place data across the city. We’re starting in New York because the diversity of the five boroughs provides a great environment to learn about the data we’re collecting and understand its potential.

One thing we wanted to test up front: would companies want to partner with us as we collect this data? The good news is yes, and our first partnership came with an interesting data request. The company wanted to know more about wheelchair access across the city. This data is currently spotty and not accessible enough.

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities estimates that 99,000 New Yorkers are wheelchair users (PDF link). And even though we have the ADA, it’s still hard to get around New York if you’re in a wheelchair. So we’re happy to announce that we’ll be collecting this data as part of MapNYC, in the hopes that providing more access and visibility to this data will help.

You can download the MapNYC app starting next week. For most places you create around the city, adding wheelchair accessible data will be required. At the end of the contest, we will release all the data we’ve collected under an open license so others can use this important data as well.

Sign up for our mailing list on the MapNYC page so we can keep you updated on the project, and let you know when the app is out. Help us get the word out and we hope you’ll join us next week as we create an amazing dataset about New York City!

Randy Meech