The safe and efficient mobility of the visually impaired can be ensured by the development of new aids based on new computing methods and technologies. The issue of mobility and accessibility is one of the major issues in the development of "smart cities" and affordable service to all urban residents. We have tested an automated tactile map production process with the latest 3D printing technology for the visually impaired. By applying a new method, which included linking geolocation data (digital maps, digital spatial images), a new 3D tactile design process and 3D printing technology, we reduced costs and accelerated the production of tactile maps for visually impaired people, and ensured the transportability of products by converting them to digital (STL) format.
The tactile map or map is at a certain resolution (no magnification), thus the symbols of legend and explanation must be reduced to a concise basis in order to be effectively usable. It was quickly learned that the use of Braille sometimes limits the performance of maps because it comes in only one specific font size. This is where the audio components come into play.
The basic hierarchy of information changes when we research maps as visually impaired. "If you see a drawing or a map visually, first of all you have an overall understanding of the space, and then elaborate on it," when you read with your fingers, we start with the details first, but you may have no idea what that detail represents. We need to share it or find some strategy to find the complete picture, we are in the testing phase.
International White Stick Day is celebrated every year on October 15, but the problems of visually impaired people last 365 days a year. Nowadays, we can not only imagine the movement, but also the learning of blind persons in geography, history and other subjects without tactile maps. The visually impaired with the help of tactile maps make it easier to move. It is certainly not the first time that we have seen 3D printing that was used to create maps for the visually impaired. Touch Mapper maps differ in that they are very visually oriented. Tactile maps are finely detailed and include representations of buildings, railways, roads and waterways, at various scales. Different heights and textures differentiate different topographies, most water bodies represent undulating surfaces, while smaller streams are just narrow lines. Pedestrian roads are raised more than other roads because they are less frequently used by visually impaired people. The selected user's address is designated as a raised cone, and the northeast corner of the map is specially marked to ensure proper orientation.
On the occasion of "European Mobility Week", six organizations of persons with disabilities, signatories to the "Cooperation Agreement 2012", received the awards for the implementation of "Universal Design" for the year 2017 at the Crystal House of Culture in Sisak, September 22. Acknowledgments for the application of “Universal Design” refer to the adaptation of the public space for use by all persons, including persons with disabilities, and this year the awards were given to the Galdovo Elementary School - Hrastelnica Regional School, Mate Lovrak Primary School from Petrinja, Library and Reading Room Glina and Branki Poljak - CroMaps.