I recently learned about Project Sidewalk from a SciStarter email newsletter. Lately, I have been heavily immersed in biodiversity and conservation citizen science projects; it was exciting to find a different type of project that is both relevant and impactful!
Project Sidewalk is a contributory citizen science project where participants look at segments Google Street View and label issues with accessibility. This includes marking missing curb ramps (and identifying existing curb ramps), identifying obstacles on the sidewalk, labeling surface problems with the sidewalk, and noting where sidewalks are missing. Additionally, you can validate other users’ labels.
Not only do the results help city planners make the cities more accessible, but also the results help train machine learning to identify accessibility issues.
It’s super easy to get started:
1. Go to the Project Sidewalk website and create an account.
2. Select which city you’d like to contribute to (currently available: Amsterdam, NL; Columbus, OH; La Piedad, MX; Mexico City, MX; Newberg, OR; Oradell, NJ; Pittsburgh, PA; San Pedro Garza García, MX).
3. Go through the tutorial to learn the mechanics. The tutorial walks you through everything. If you need to see more or reference later, check out the labeling guide, created by the Amsterdam city government.
4. Start contributing!
This work is important work. I am looking forward to continuing to contribute to this project and to share it with my students in the future. Currently, I am working on a 5E lesson plan which includes Project Sidewalk. It’ll be posted to my Fulbright Project website once it is finished.
Will you join me in improving accessibility in 1 mile of a neighborhood in Amsterdam?