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When you go to the bakery, you know exactly where to turn and where to stop because you can see all the significant landmarks around. The majority of the blind need another person’s assistance to go out and buy bread. And that is because the blind need training to be able to explore their surroundings. They need to get in physical contact with everything around so they can learn to relate to their own milestones. If you want to help them get around their neighbourhood, you can create tactile maps for them to ”walk” their fingers across it and gain spatial knowledge. 

 

What do you have to do? 

  1. Take a screen capture of the neighbourhood’s map
  2. Use the EDITOR

a) Send a free invitation request 

b) Add the QR Code

c) Add the areas of interest and text 

3. Emboss the map with adhesive

1. Take a screen capture of the neighbourhood’s map

For starters, you have to go to Google Maps. Type in the name of your current location, and you will see the map of your neighbourhood. Next, take a screen capture.

2. Use the EDITOR

The EDITOR is a module of the e-learning platform tactileimages.org that allows you to create personalized tactile maps and drawings.

a) Send a free invitation request

The first thing you have to do is gain access to the EDITOR. You can do it free of charge by filling out this form. You only have to do it once, and you will be able to create as many personalized tactile maps as you want. We will send you the user account by e-mail, and you will have to log in at editor.tactileimages.org.

b) Add the QR Code

Once inside the EDITOR, upload the screen capture of the map. For it to work with the mobile READER App, which helps the blind study tactile graphics independently, you have to add a unique QR Code to the tactile map. You can create your QR Code on this website. Don’t forget to add it to the EDITOR.

c) Add the areas of interest and the text

Areas of interest are easy to create; you just have to drag your mouse around. You can create as many areas of interest as you want, but make sure they do not overlap. 

 

Areas of interest are activated as a person walks his/her finger on the tactile map, and audio information is given if a person stops for a couple of seconds in an area of interest (this happens after three beeps). The audio information is represented by the text you insert in the EDITOR – please take into consideration that you have to add relevant text to each area of interest. Think of the indications that would help a blind person be able to orient in the neighbourhood. 

 

Finally, you can add some descriptive text to the QR Code area. You can insert as much text as you want. It can be anything from the history of the neighbourhood, data on famous people who lived there, or information about neighbours. 

3. Emboss the map with adhesive

You do not need specialized or expensive machinery to emboss a tactile map. You just need a standard printer to print the map you created in the EDITOR. For embossing, you will need a syringe and adhesive. We wrote this article on how to emboss a tactile graphic inexpensively to help you out. It’s a straightforward process, you will see! 

Any blind person with a tactile map, an iPhone, and internet access can now ”walk” the streets of his/her neighbourhood with his/her fingers and gain spatial knowledge.

Do you have any questions about creating tactile maps? Write in the comment section below!

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