Getting in Touch with Tactile Map Automated Production: Evaluating Impact and Areas for Improvement

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal on Technology and Persons with Disabilities, Volume 10 (2022)

This study evaluated the impact the Tactile Maps Automated Production (TMAP) system has had on its blind and visually impaired (BVI) and Orientation and Mobility (O&M) users and obtained suggestions for improvement. A semi-structured interview was performed with six BVI and seven O&M TMAP users who had printed or ordered two or more TMAPs in the last year. The number of maps downloaded from the online TMAP generation platform was also reviewed for each participant. The most significant finding is that having access to TMAPs increased map usage for BVIs from less than 1 map a year to getting at least two maps from the order system, with those who had easy access to an embosser generating on average 18.33 TMAPs from the online system and saying they embossed 42 maps on average at home or work. O&Ms appreciated the quick, high-quality, and scaled map they could create and send home with their students, and they frequently used TMAPs with their braille reading students. To improve TMAPs, users requested that the following features be added: interactivity, greater customizability of TMAPs, viewing of transit stops, lower cost of the ordered TMAP, and nonvisual viewing of the digital TMAP on the online platform.

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