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New Information for Tactile Maps

In case you had not heard already, or have not had a chance to review it yet, The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) has finalized and published their Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics.  It is now available on their Web site for download as a PDF and is an excellent resource in planning and producing tactile graphics for working with students and clients.  The direct link to the site is

Of particular interest for orientation and mobility is Unit 8 that details considerations and strategies for maps tailored to the student's travel environment.  The initial Units of the document provide wonderful templates and other specific areas to consider for determining materials to be used and specifying the goal of the tactile graphic or map to ensure that the main goal of your work is adequately represented as the emphasis of the final product.  Also, immediately preceding the specific orientation and mobility section is an example of a complex diagram of a bus route; this is at the end of Unit 7.

Whether you are designing a map to facilitate travel on a school campus, travel in a residential area, or just beginning to introduce skills for accessing tactile maps and diagrams, these guidelines provide clear examples and suggestions that increase the individuals ability to successful obtain useful information from the tactile work produced.  Did you ever wonder how many details you could reasonably put on a map, or how close the landmarks could be to one another and still be discernible when read tactilely?  These guidelines and standards help to answer many of the common questions addressed when planning and creating tactile maps and diagrams, potentially saving you and the learner hours of frustration in finding what works.

Happy tactile mapping!

Contributed by Chris Tabb, TSBVI O&M Specialist
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