Ph.D. student Nick Bolten received the 2017 Husky Seed Fund for his project UW OpenSidewalks. The fund supports students’ innovative ideas that are inclusive, impactful, and inventive to the UW.
Bolten’s project will gather rich data on paths throughout the UW’s Seattle campus to add to the open, mapping database OpenStreetMap. This will help fulfill the UW’s commitment to equal access and will raise awareness in the community to the challenges experienced by UW students with disabilities. With Seattle hosting the Special Olympics USA Games in 2018, Bolten’s project comes at an opportune time. Many olympic events will take place on the UW Seattle campus.
Earlier this year, Bolten and a team of researchers launched AccessMap, an app that offers pedestrian-friendly routes for those getting from point A to point B on the brimming streets of Seattle. For someone with limited mobility, using sidewalks or pedestrian paths in an unfamiliar area can be like driving without directions and hitting dead end after dead end. AccessMap addresses these challenges. OpenSidewalks applies this concept to the UW campus for a more targeted approach.