A German man tired of relying on public services to ferry him around in his wheelchair has developed a crowdsourced iPhone app with info on access to public places.
Though Raul Krauthausen doesn’t lament the services available for the physically handicapped in Germany – special taxis and grocery delivery, etc. – he wanted more flexibility.
“Sometimes I feel I’m treated like a child who isn’t allowed to decide specific things by myself,” said the 30-year-old who suffers from a genetic disorder that makes his bones brittle. “I want to remain flexible and not be dependent on when a driving service has time to pick me up.”
So he developed website wheelmap.org, which now has 300 new user-ratings daily for a total of info on 30,000 locations. For now, the bulk of information — around 80 percent of tagged spots — are in Germany, but site ratings for cities like London and New York are slowly growing.
On the Wheelmap iPhone app, locations are tagged as either green, yellow or red—totally, partially and not at all accessible. Unrated locations are gray. The latest version of the free app offers Japanese-language support and a number of bug fixes.