SBE Research Seminars | 18th January 2021

Crowdsourcing research:

Accessible Zaragoza and PEST Project

Carlos Cámara Menoyo | @drccamara

Architect. PhD Urban Sociology. Researcher. Activist. Life-long learner.

Carlos Cámara Menoyo

I pursue a positive impact on people’s lives through the shaping of physical and digital spaces.

I have focused on the topic of social and spatial inequities and collective-action to find ways in which cities can be more sustainable and egalitarian. | @drccamara


Going from A to B is not trivial at all!

Especially if you do not respond to a pattern of “normality” (e.g. 👩‍🦽 🧑‍🦯 🧍🏿‍♀️ 👬 ) …Or if there is a pandemic! 😷


In this case, crowdsourcing data gathering from a large and open group of people.

Castellers: "Castells" (Castles) wouldn't be possible without collective-action. Photo: Reuters
(Forgive me for the Catalan stereotype!)

(Part 1)

Accessible Zaragoza

The problem(s)

People with disabilities cannot be fully autonomous when moving within a city
(especially in a foreign city).

Facing several types of exclusion, i.e.:

  • Physical: urban design
  • Technological: (lack of) specialized apps/services
Photo: Igor Rodrigues

Our Goal

The creation of a pilot to overcome those 2 problems.

  • Map capable of:
    • Assessing Zaragoza in terms of accessibility
    • Providing routing calculations for disabled people in order to improve their autonomy
  • Test a protocol/methodology

Research Design Decision 1:

Open and collaborative project

Political decision

  • Results should be used and shared by anyone if they are to be of any use
  • Citizenship has to be part of it

Pragmatic decision

  • Overcome our own limitations (staff, infrastructure, budget)
  • Reduce setup time


OpenStreetMap (OSM)


OpenStreetMap (OSM)

AKA “The Wikipedia of the maps”

OSM is the biggest and most precise free/libre spatial database of the world

  • Collaborative approach (data, governance)
  • Data Sharing (legally + technically): social return
This is what we see at
But, in fact, there is much more that what we see! It is a (collaborative) spatial database

Worldwide community

  • ~7 million registered users (2020-11-23)
    • (~ 100 editing daily in Spain)
  • ~ 6.5 billion nodes (2020-11-23)
    • (20.000 - 30.000 created every day in Spain)
  • Data under Open Database License (ODbL)

Source: OSM Wiki

(Part 2)

Accessible Zaragoza

Research Design Decision 2:

Teaming up with others

To overcome individual limitations and get better results.

Geospatial Experts and Volunteers

  • Collaborative Mapping (Association) Technical knowledge, Data gathering organization, Research Design
  • OpenStreetMap Local community:
    Data gathering
  • Volunteers:
    Data gathering
Mapping party organized by Mapeado Colaborativo and Discapacitados Sin Fronteras Aragón.


Expert knowledge about disabilities.

  • Discapacitados Sin Fronteras (NGO)
  • Mundo Crip (Association)
  • Ganchillo Social (Association)

Public Administration:

Physical space for gathering, computers, mailing…

  • Civic Centers
  • City council (Zaragoza Activa)

Research Design Decision 3:

Type of data

Decide what kind of data do we gather


We would (only) focus on:

  1. Visual impariment
  2. Mobility impairment

Be objective

Data Gathering and Publishing

Data gathering methods

  • Field work
  • 2 different types:
    • Staff
    • Mapping parties

A. Fieldwork made by research assistants (USJ)

Thanks to César Canalís (2016-17), Lourdes Pérez (2016-17) and Javier Claver (2018-2019)!

USJ's students taking notes on kerbs and tactile paving. Photo: Héctor Ochoa


B. Mapping parties

Festive events for data gathering, learning and raising awareness

1. Theoretical sessions on disabilities

  • Common problems
  • Examples
  • Discussion about urban design
Laura Moya (Mundo Crip) and her guide dog, Geniva, explaining how blind people move and orient themselves in the city.

2. Organization

  • Methodology
  • Creation of groups and areas to cover.
    • OSM expert (Stakeholder)
    • Disabilities expert (stakeholder)
    • Student
    • Volunteer

3. Fieldwork

Data gathering tools

(Pen and paper, mostly)
Data gathering table
Streetcomplete (Android App)

Mapillary (collaborative streetview images)

Publishing data

We upload data gathered to OSM

Collaborative Mapping session for uploading data gathered to OSM

Some Results


2 online maps, for two groups of disabilities:

  1. sight
  2. mobility

Accessible base maps

Informed by literature review (Allan et al., 2019; Jenny & Kelso, 2007; Russell-Minda et al., 2007)

Protanopia and Deuteranopia


Integrating teaching and research

  • Attendance to mapping parties was compulsory for students from Universidad San Jorge
  • Part of the Urban Studies' curricula, which covered:
    • Social implications of urban design
    • Digital Tools (GIS, querying databases…)
Conchita Galve, from Discapacitados Sin Fronteras, sharing her experience on moving in a wheelchair in Zaragoza.


  • Scholarly publications
  • Master theses (2)
  • Ongoing article

Raising awareness

Media appearance

(unexpected outcome)

Grabación en directo de una Mapping Party. Foto: Carlos Cámara.
Aparición en periódico (Heraldo, 2017)

Changes in Zaragoza’s regulations (2019)

  • Urban design to be more sensitive to disabilities

Post-pandemic Equitable and Sustainable Transport (PEST)



Active Travel Funds (ATF)

DfT’s package to reallocate road space to encourage active travel (walking and cycling) across England to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on local travel.

2 Phases

  1. May 2020: supports the installation of temporary projects (£42 million)
  2. November 2020: supports the creation of longer-term projects (£150 million)

PEST’s Goals

Increase understanding of place-based policy and activity in relation to active travel in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic

  1. To understand and map what types of schemes are proposed and where.
  1. To understand processes in terms of delivering the schemes and experiences of the case authorities

Gathering intelligence about ATF

ATF tracking

  • data request to DfT to obtain intelligence on the schemes that were awarded funds
  • online form targeted at local authorities who are in receipt of ATF
  • data provided by our stakeholders

In depth-study cases

  • Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Oxford, Worcester → Based on previous research by Tim Jones (C. Pooley et al., 2011; C. G. Pooley et al., 2013)

Stay tuned!

  • To you, for your attention
  • To Tatiana Moreira, for the invitation and organization of the Research Seminars
  • To Tim Jones and Ben Spencer, for encouraging me to present here (and for being great colleagues!)

Questions? | @drccamara

Licencia de Creative Commons