Connecting Communities and Mapping Accessible Places

DIAUD Network, Europe, News, September 13 2017

On September 6 2017 the DIAUD Network held the next in a series of virtual meetings, to discuss the opportunity to collaborate in preparation for the 9th World Urban Forum (WUF9) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2018.  Representatives from the PWD-PCG and the GAP participating in the High Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda and UN-Habitat, were able to update network members on results of the meeting from New York. The meeting also featured a presentation on accessibility mapping from guest speaker, Holger Dieterich, chairman of SoziaIhelden (Social Heros) and co-founder of


Holger Dieterich is chairman of Berlin non-profit organization, Sozialhelden, which has been developing creative projects which address social problems with practical solutions in the spirit of diversity, inclusion and fun.  Dieterich spoke with the network about how their project,, is tracking public accessibility for people with disabilities through an “open street map” data source. is available on the web as well as through iOS, Android, and Windows applications, in 24 languages.  This project has been recognized by many organizations such as the UN, European Commission, and the World Health Organization (WHO) as an important innovation in mapping wheelchair accessibility.

Dieterich discussed the challenges of reaching potential users worldwide and their solution to partner with similar organizations through Accessibility.Cloud, a backend service which connects 31 data sources into one global platform. This open source database now tracks more than 150 different accessibility criteria, and contains almost one million tracked places, then available for synthesis on private platforms.  Dieterich introduced their new software,, which would allow communities to integrate these data sources into their own mapping platform based on specific accessibility criteria.  These communities can then share their maps, and focus on outreach and action planning for citizen engagement and improved accessibility.

Towards the end of our meeting, Luisa Bravo  founder of City Space Architecture was able to provide the network with updates from the High Level Meeting on the New Urban Agenda and UN-Habitat happening simultaneously in New York.  Of main concern was the debate surrounding the constitution of a new entity, UN Urban, an expert task force which would take on some of the responsibilities currently delegated to UN Habitat. UN Urban could work as a more committed and effective mechanism for implementing the NUA and SDG 11 with its focus on urban issues.  Dr. Bravo explained concerns around the structure and financing of such an entity, with the hope that a solution would be found by the end of the conference.

The DIAUD Network’s next meeting will occur on Wednesday September 20th, 2017 at 9:00am EDT.  This meeting will feature a presentation by Joe Cioffi, CEO of Click and Go Maps, highlighting their efforts in wayfinding maps. The collaboration between the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) , the Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), and World Enabled makes the DIAUD Network possible.  These network meetings are hosted and recorded on a virtual platform by IDPP and the recordings are available to registered DIAUD Network members.  In order to receive updates and further your participation with the Network,  join the mailing list


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