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OpenStreetMap data needs to become accessible to disabled people.

This includes the need for a possibility to map objects of special interest to the different groups of disabled.

Often the object can not be described by established tags as much as needed.

This proposal shall fill the gap and offer a unified way to add information of interest the disabled, that is not of interest to other persons.


  • Because often map icons can to tell what needs to be told.

Where to map?

  • Wherever an element needs description for persons with a disability.


The key consists of the keyword for the disability

  • wheelchair
  • blind
  • deaf

followed by a colon, plus the keyword

  • "description"

followed by a colon plus the 2 letter language code also used in name:*=*

  • en for English
  • de for German
  • etc.

Note: The language extension is of special interest to blind users because the screenreader shall be controlled to pronounce the description in the correct language.

Wheelchair users and other walking disabilities

Tagging examples:

Blindness and visual impairments

Tagging examples:

  • water=fountain
  • blind:description:en=Warning: The fountain does not have a noticable border, you can get wet when standing on the fountain when it is turned on suddenly. Keep away at least 10m radius.

  • building=yes
  • entrance=yes
  • blind:description:en=Warning: Dangerous automatic door turning anticlockwise. Use the button for wheelchair drivers on the left at height 80cm to slow it down.

  • highway=bus_stop
  • tactile_paving=incorrect
  • blind:description:en=Danger: The tactile paving down to the underground line 3 guides to you under the steps approximately 13 m after you enter the platform, only 1.80m free hight. Keep right of the guiding line and make sure not to bruise your head.

Deafness and hearing impairments

Tagging examples:

  • type=route
  • route=train
  • deaf:description:en=Danger: The doors of some lines from this railway stop used to have flashlights when the doors are closing, but due to a technical problem most of them only beep now.

Mental deseases and inability to read

Some persons need icons or speech output instead of writing because they can not read.

To be defined.

Rendering / Speaking

  • Not displayed in ordinary maps.
  • In special maps for disabled persons the descriptions shall appear at mouse over
  • In navigation software for the blind the descriptions shall be spoken by the screenreader on demand
  • Will be rendered on http://www.accessiblemaps.org

Often used combinations

For longer descriptions

If you have a longer description of an object, like such for tourists that describe the history of an object, you can use blind:website:XX=* and place an URL to the long text.

See also