Last week our partner in Vienna, ZSI started a mapping project with a local school. Students will go out in groups and explore their surroundings by mapping accessible places using two mobile applications, taking photographs and playing the role of inquisitive journalists. But, let’s start from the beginning:
The Educational Centre HTL HAK Ungargasse in Vienna is quite a unique school in Austria for several reasons. The school offers eight different types of schooling and professional training for students with and without disabilities. In addition, a residential facility is attached to the school. Teachers and staff are enthusiastic about the mapping project in which one group of the residential home and two classes are taking part. Two information sessions were held last week to introduce the mapping project and the tasks and apps involved. Also a ‘mapping folder’ was given to each student including an information sheet concerning the flow of the mapping project, a step-by-step guide for the two applications and of course the MyAccessible.EU, Wheelmap and berollbar.at flyers.
Students will go out on their mapping spree in groups of 3 – 5 people, equipped with their smartphones, cameras, paper maps (in case they are let down by technology 😉 and notebooks to jot down their discussions and comments from shop owners or pedestrians. As with the school projects carried out by the NGO Sozialhelden in Berlin, each member of the group is assigned a different role in order to experience different perspectives and capture different information. The four roles include a researching wheelchair user, an enthusiastic mapper, a creative photographer and an inquisitive reporter.
Students are using two different mobile apps to map accessibility: Wheelmap to map accessible places like cafés, supermarkets etc., and the newly developed obstacle tagger to mark and photograph obstacles in the city. Obstacles can include steep inclines, cobble stone streets, walkways with no dropped curbs and much more.
The students have until the end of October to go out and about in their groups and collect information about accessible places in their surroundings. In the beginning of November there will be a presentation evening at the school where the groups can present their findings and discuss their funniest, most bizarre or surprising encounters. In addition to the presentation evening, students will also write a blog post for the local platform berollbar.at to share their experiences and photographs with a wider public. One of the teachers told us it is also a great opportunity for students to practice writing a blog post. We are already looking forward to seeing the materials, such as screenshots, photographs, interview notes and maybe even small videos the students will collect and to hearing about their experiences during the mapping weeks!