Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 85–98

Atlas.txt: exploring linguistic grounding techniques for communicating spatial information to blind users

  • Kavita E. Thomas
  • Somayajulu Sripada
  • Matthijs L. Noordzij
Long Paper

Abstract

This paper describes exploratory research into automatically describing geo-referenced information to blind people. The goal is to produce texts giving an overview of the spatial layout, and a central concern of such texts is that they employ an appropriate linguistic reference frame which enables blind hearers to ground the information. The research presented in this paper was based on two hypotheses: (1) directly perceivable reference frames are easier to ground and (2) spatial descriptions drawn from composite reference frame systems composed of more than one reference frame are easier to ground. An experiment exploring text comprehension on a range of texts employing different reference frame systems is presented. The main results indicate that the second hypothesis is supported. A prototype of a natural language generation system, which generates texts describing geo-referenced information from data, is described.

Keywords

Blind users Geo-referenced spatial information Natural language generation Reference frame preference 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kavita E. Thomas
    • 1
  • Somayajulu Sripada
    • 1
  • Matthijs L. Noordzij
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenScotland, UK
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive Psychology and ErgonomicsUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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