Brooklyn filmmaker Jason DaSilva found it hard to get around after his 2006 MS diagnosis. He often contacted establishments about access and was told they were wheelchair accessible, but when he arrived he discovered the opposite. In 2007, he decided to use technology to make life easier for people with disabilities. “I saw a need for people to have some sort of database that people could actually feed into and give some personal point of views as to accessibility,” he says.
In 2009 DaSilva started AXS Map, which easily allows anybody with a computer or smart phone to rate the accessibility of any place. Users can rate entrance access, bathroom access, parking, even noise levels — and they can leave more detailed comments.
Financial support from Google and other foundations made the site a reality but volunteer mappers have been invaluable. Recently, an army of volunteers rated and mapped over 500 locations in New York City. DaSilva says the mapping events have gone well, and many more are needed for the site to grow.
DaSilva says the service is available now and encourages people to start rating the access of their neighborhoods and cities. He hopes businesses will take notice and increase accessibility if they are given a poor rating. “My philosophy is putting the carrot before the stick,” he says.
For information please visit www.axsmap.com.