Matt McCann, one of the co-creators of Access Earth, was inspired to create the site after an incident in 2012. He was visiting London and had booked a hotel that claimed to be accessible. But when he got there, Matt found there were three steps between him and the main entrance, making it extremely difficult for him to get himself and his rollator inside. Once he finally did, he found that the entrance to his room wasn’t wide enough to fit his rollator through.

And so, with the help of his friend Ryan O’Neill, Matt began work on Access Earth, a website that crowdsources accessibility data. Their goal is to eventually turn the site into an app that will help people with disabilities navigate the world more easily, and also encourage businesses to adopt an “attitude toward accessibility” instead of seeing accessibility as a burdensome afterthought.

Access Earth is already competing in technology competitions, such as Microsoft’s Imagine Cup in Seattle, and the Enactus World Cup in Johannesburg. Although it didn’t win, the competitions have generated more interest in Access Earth. Matt and Ryan are applying for funding from the Irish government, hope to hire some new teammates soon, and from there aim to partner up with some businesses.

One of the biggest issues now is simply gathering enough data on the accessibility of building all around their world. “Within the next twelve months we want to be in the United States as our second country,” said Ryan. Though the app is still a ways away, you can visit and use the website now at