Tactile Braille Maps: Explore the World Through Touch

For those with visual impairments, exploring new places can be challenging. But with our tactile braille maps, the world opens up in a tangible, accessible way. These innovative maps allow you to experience cities, buildings, campuses, and more through the power of touch.

What Are Tactile Braille Maps?

Tactile braille maps are detailed maps produced using a braille embosser to tactually represent topographies along with braille labels to identify key features. The embosser can produce varying textures that can be employed to convey information about the location being depicted. Every element — streets, buildings, parks, bodies of water — is thoughtfully rendered with varied textures, allowing you to trace routes and identify landmarks with your fingertips. The best tactile maps are true works of craftsmanship, requiring skilled hands to accurately translate visual maps into a tactile code. When done with precision, these maps become more than flat representations — they are explorable worlds that can be “seen” and understood through the sensitivity of the fingertips.

braille map with tactile symbols

Precision and Attention to Detail

Our maps are meticulously crafted by our skilled team consisting of mobility instructors, teachers of the visually impaired, graphics designers and braille experts. We utilize high-quality embossers and the latest digital design tools to make any map tactually accessible.

The creation process begins with our team of accessibility experts carefully studying the location. They examine architecture plans, GIS data, photos, and may potentially conduct site visits to ensure every detail is accurately captured.

Using specialized computer-aided design (CAD) software, the map layout is then meticulously rendered in a digital model. This allows the designers to layer in precise textural overlays, and braille labels with precision.

Once the digital design is complete, it is transferred to an industrial-grade braille embosser. Our embossers create crisp lines, textures, and braille on specialized paper for maximum readability and longevity.

Maps for Any Setting

We offer tactile braille maps for a wide range of settings, including:

  • Educational settings
  • Cities and towns
  • College/university campuses
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums
  • Office buildings and complexes
  • Hospitals and medical facilities
  • Transit stations and airports
  • Shopping malls and plazas
  • Parks and outdoor areas
map for visitors with landmark tactile icons

Readability and Clarity

When creating tactile braille maps, readability and clarity are paramount. Unlike visual maps that can convey extensive detail, tactile maps must be carefully edited to include only the most essential information. Overloading a tactile map with too much data can make it difficult to interpret and navigate through touch.

Purposeful Simplification for Maximum Impact

Our designers are experts at purposefully simplifying map details to optimize the tactile reading experience. We thoughtfully curate which map elements to include and enhance based on the location’s key objectives and priorities.

For example:

  • Campus Maps: Focused on clearly denoting buildings, entrances, accessible routes and parking – with less emphasis on vegetation/landscaping.
  • Transit Hubs: Highlighting pathways, terminals, platforms and amenities – while avoiding excessive street/road details.
  • City Maps: Conveying major streets, neighborhoods, landmarks and parks – without getting bogged down in every alleyway or building footprint.

This selective detailing ensures the most important navigational information stands out with maximum clarity. Extraneous map features that could clutter or confuse are carefully pared away.

Interpreting Through Touch

In addition to selective detailing, we carefully construct map elements to be distinctly identifiable through varied textures and dimensionality. Major streets may be thick embossed lines, while smaller paths use distinct textures. Green spaces can be subtly textured for easy recognition.

Braille labeling is also implemented with an emphasis on readability. In addition to the on map labeling, all of our tactile braille maps include a comprehensive legend or key to help users easily interpret and understand the various textures, braille labels, and raised elements. Descriptive text and directional cues may also be incorporated into the legend or map key. This allows users to seamlessly correlate what they are reading with the physical map features.

Intuitive Design for Maximum Clarity

Our designers carefully craft each key or legend to be an intuitive, easy-to-reference tool. Map elements are organized in a logical order, with ample space between textures to avoid confusion. To initially orient readers to the map, the key features braille descriptions alongside representative textures present on the map. This clarifies each unique texture pattern to the reader; further enhancing their spatial awareness of various locations, terrains and additional crucial map-specific features.

Certain keys also incorporate handy navigational elements like a braille compass rose to reinforce cardinal directions. For interior maps of buildings, the floor level may be prominently featured to ensure proper orientation. The map’s purpose remains a primary focus in the crafting process.

The goal is to create a comprehensive, user-friendly translation guide that eliminates any guesswork. You can quickly run your fingers over the legend, learn the tactile code, and then expertly explore the full map with confidence.

Whether referencing a map of your college campus, a new city, transit hub or office park, the legend is an indispensable companion. By allowing you to decipher every road, structure and pathway clearly through touch, our tactile braille maps become open books to explore and experience like never before.

Through thoughtful design and precise manufacturing, our tactile braille maps offer an uncluttered, intuitive exploration of locations through touch. By focusing on only the most essential details rendered with maximum clarity, you can navigate and understand locations with confidence.

person using a three dimensional tactile map

Maps Built to Your Specifications

At GetBraille.com, we understand that no two locations are alike. That’s why each of our tactile braille maps is a completely custom creation, built to order based on the details and requirements you provide.

Brand New Maps

If you need a map created from scratch, our designers will work closely with you to gather all the necessary details, including:

  • The boundaries/area to be mapped
  • Specific routes, paths, and points of interest to highlight
  • Buildings, entrances, and interior layouts (for architectural maps)
  • Landscape features like terrain, bodies of water, parks, etc.
  • Required labels and descriptions in braille

We’ll also consult with you to ensure the final map accurately and intuitively conveys the intended location featuring key details without being overly crowded.

Converting Existing Maps:

Already have floor plans, architectural renderings or standard printed maps? Our team can convert these into accessible tactile braille maps.
We’ll need you to provide the source files or high-quality printouts, along with any supplemental details like:

  • Areas/routes that require special emphasis
  • New labels or descriptions to add in braille
  • Specific texture preferences for map elements
  • Interior layouts and floor plans

Our designers will then recreate the map in our CAD software, applying textures, braille and raised lines to make it an immersive, tactile experience.

No matter the map need, our commitment is creating a final product with the utmost precision and usability. We’ll work closely with you every step to achieve the perfect tactile rendering. Just provide the location details, and let our artisans craft an explorable world you can engage with through touch.

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