Bringing Together Disparate Data Sets Can Make Them More Useful

Systems connected: Transportation, disability services, public works

by / June 27, 2016

A project out of Seattle called AccessMap — which will soon expand to other cities — is demonstrating what can happen when different data sets are brought together. The project takes information about sidewalk elevation, curb ramps, construction projects and more to show a person with disabilities how to get around town.

That can be difficult to do. People with disabilities have to think about things others don’t when navigating a city — so much so that government-provided data sets aren’t enough to fill out the map completely. The project’s organizers are turning to crowdsourcing to help fill in the blanks on oft-ignored details like which sidewalks are slowly buckling and breaking as tree roots force their way up from below.

Together, all that information could make movement a lot easier for both residents and visitors with disabilities.