Friday, August 19, 2016

Framing the subject

Let’s get into the actual subject. I defined 3 main questions which work as a good playground for collecting data, asking people and defining new goals. These question are the outcome of a quick recap of the former research project Inclusive Maps. In addition to the questions I show some interesting related work that I find useful in this particular step.

What are the overall goals?

The outcome of this project seeks to help large groups of people with certain impairments to finding their way through urban environment structures. But before all; we want to find out what the actual people have to say about this. The paper Experience of Multisensory Environments in Public Space among People with Visual Impairment (2015) helps to get a sense of what people with visual impairments have to say about public spaces in general. The survey has some really good questions prepared and it creates a good overview of the everyday challenges people with visual impairments have to deal with. Another good article describes the challenges with mobility disabilities. Mobility Disability and the Urban Built Environment (2008)

In the next steps I am creating a survey like Q&A prepared with more precise questions regarding the more or less obvious benefits of new technology. My first interview partner would be Udo Zeller. He is the representative for people with disabilities for the administrative district of Potsdam-Mittelmark.

What’s already there?

To kickstart the related work search I use Google Scholar to get a quick overview of the most recent work. There is already a lot to read but this helps to avoid unnecessary work and can help to transfer interesting outcomes into actions.

What’s the actual challenge?

I see several different challenges. First we need to get to the right people and listen to them. Making them comfortable talking about their impairments and the barriers they encounter throughout the day. Creating insights from what they are talking and documenting it in a right way.

The second challenge I see is gathering data. First we need to decide if we want to use the data which is already collected, stored and offered on open data portals from cities. Or we are creating our very own data set. This could be a better way to support the idea of using data for better map visualizations. Again, we eventually want to create maps with useful data for people with certain impairments. To this day open data portals are mostly hosting data in the field of Administration & Finance, Buildings, Community & Economic Development, Education, etc. Open data portals itselfs are a huge step forward but often lacks of data for impairments. Here are 3 open data portals which I really like just because of the vast amount of data sets: