UW News

March 1, 2005

Student researchers to present tactile maps of campus to blind students, staff

WHO:  University of Washington faculty and student researchers involved in the Tactile Graphics Project, a federally funded endeavor to automate the translation of complex data to tactile documents that users can read by touch.

WHAT:  The presentation of personal tactile campus maps to blind UW students and staff members.

WHEN:  Friday, March 4, at 11:30 a.m.

WHERE:  Room 691 of the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering on the UW’s Seattle campus. The Allen Center is located on Stevens Way, just south of the Husky Student Union Building.

DETAILS:  For the past nine months, a group of undergraduate students — Satria Krisandi, Matt Renzelmann, Stuart Olsen, Maha Ramasamy and Jack Hebert — have been translating the six UW campus maps on the Web into a tactile form that users can read with their fingers. The group is ready to pass the maps to blind students and staff members to use in navigating the university grounds. The tactile maps use the same coordinate system as the original maps, and they come with a Braille directory so users can easily find buildings using a three-letter code. In addition, the tactile maps mark bus stops and foot bridges — features not included on the original visual maps.

The Tactile Graphics Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is an interdisciplinary research effort among the UW Department of Computer Science & Engineering, the Information School, the Access Technology Lab and the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) program. The goal of the project is to develop techniques to make mathematical, scientific and engineering information accessible to blind students.


For more information, contact Richard Ladner, professor of computer science and engineering and principal investigator for the project, at (206) 543-9347 or ladner@cs.washington.edu. General information about the Tactile Graphics Project is available at http://tactilegraphics.ischool.washington.edu/