I received a comment today pointing me to Tactile Map Automated Production (TMAP) a web-based application for producing tactile maps.

This reminded me that I have not blogged about the articles I have read so far concerning tactile maps:

Navigating maps with little or no sight: An audio-tactile approach R. Dan Jacobson

This paper outlines the benefits of tactile maps, and the general purpose behind them.  It also outlines the shortcomings of basic tactile maps.  It is a good introduction to the use of tactile maps for the visually-impaired.

Creating Tactile Maps for the Blind using a GIS Jerry Clark, Deanna Durr Clark

This paper addresses the problem of orienting blind students to a school campus.  It proposes a system that uses GIS and a coordinate digitizer to create “tactilely-enhanced” paper maps. Conclusions I was able to take from this paper is that keeping it simple is important. Users would not be interested in every specific point on a map.  It also concluded that an overall site map was beneficial upon introduction, with underlying, more specific maps they can access if desired. This aligns with the approach I’m thinking of taking in my design. Customization was also deemed important.

BATS: The Blind Audio Tactile Mapping System Peter Parente Gary Bishop

This paper outlines an application created to allow students with visual impairments explore and understand spatial information.  It is useful to understand how these students learn the concepts of spatial information, such as compass direction, relative distance, perimeter etc.

Teaching visually impaired children to make distance judgements from a tactile map Simon Ungar, Mark Blades and Christopher Spencer

This paper researches the ability of children to make distance judgments based on the scale of a map.  It shows the value of educating visually-impaired children in reading maps.  They are able to make sense of the concepts and draw information from it.  This shows that although visually-impaired people cannot see the map, they can still benefit from its use.