Blind Friendly Maps

GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT

The basis of the project Blind Friendly Maps (Hapticke.mapy.cz)  is a Web interface which facilitates an automatic generation of geographic data suitable for the production of tactile maps, or embossed graphics observable without the use of sight. The current form of the application is a result of joint efforts of two university workplaces (Teiresiás at Masaryk University and ELSA at Czech Technical University in Prague) and the Seznam.cz company, on whose Internet domain mapy.cz the service is operated.

The service is publically available and given its nature it meets the needs of the individuals who do not use sight for their safe spatial mobility, basic orientation in terrain or information about it and those who facilitate spatial orientation and mobility of the visually impaired and require map sources accessible by touch. It is particularly intended for the operations who are able to technologically  provide for the production of the appropriate tactile graphics.

BRIEF TECHNOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION OF MAP PREPARATION

The sources for the tactile maps are generated based on standard digital geographic data using conversion instruments for transferring purely visual elements onto their tactically accessible representations (typically areal symbols  – fillings, lettering) and generalization necessary for securing readability of the resulting tactile graphics. Users receive a ready-made map sheet in digital image form, which can be printed directly. The graphics is complemented by street names lettering both in Braille and roman script, to retain the possibility of simultaneous use for sighted users. The generated outcome is accompanied by a list of abbreviations related to the concrete map sheet, graphic form of the unified map legend is also available.

Tactile graphics and the complete rendition of the sheet requires a concrete print technology, namely printing on the so called microcapsule paper subsequently thermally processed in tactile graphics printer (so called fuser).

Tactile maps are ready for display on predefined A4 sheets – depending on the scale, single sheets show:

  • an area of 235 × 330 metres with the approximate scale of 1:1200, which best suits the rendering of urban environment, with an emphasis on street network,
  • an area of 7,5 × 10 km with the scale of 1:37 000,
  • and an area of 60 × 85 km with the scale of 1:300 000.

Currently, only the maps of the Czech and Slovac Republic are available. A basic map of the world is being developed just now.

Should you be interested in more information or printing services please contact the Library and publishing section of the Teiresias centre. 

Access to the application

hapticke.mapy.cz
 

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