BlindWeb Maps – An Interactive Web Service for the Selection and Generation of Personalized Audio-Tactile Maps

  • Timo GötzelmannEmail author
  • Laura Eichler
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9759)


Tactile maps may contribute to the orientation of blind people or alternatively be used for navigation. In the past, the generation of these maps was a manual task which considerably limited their availability. Nowadays, similar to visual maps, tactile maps can also be generated semi-automatically by tools and web services. The existing approaches enable users to generate maps by entering a specific address or point of interest. This can in principle be done by a blind user. However, these approaches actually show an image of the map on the users display which cannot be read by screen readers. Consequently, the blind user does not know what is on the map before it is printed. Ideally, the map selection process should give the user more information and freedom to select the desired excerpt. This paper introduces a novel web service for blind people to interactively select and automatically generate tactile maps. It adapts the interaction concept for map selection to the requirements of blind users whilst supporting multiple printing technologies. The integrated audio review of the map’s contents allows earlier feedback to review if the currently selected map extract corresponds to the desired information need. Changes can be initiated before the map is printed which, especially for 3D printing, saves much time. The user is able to select map features to be included in the tactile map. Furthermore, the map rendering can be adapted to different zoom levels and supports multiple printing technologies. Finally, an evaluation with blind users was used to refine our approach.


Tactile maps Audio-tactile Automated generation Blind Interview Orientation Worldwide Accessibility Embossing Microcapsular 3D printing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceNuremberg Institute of TechnologyNurembergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceTechnical University DresdenDresdenGermany

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