The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, in partnership with the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, will develop, over the three-year grant, a cross-sensory digital web-based map component that can be inserted into any webpage and viewed equally visually and in audio. The goal of this project is to address the lack of nonvisual digital maps by developing an accessible system for blind and visually impaired (BVI) individuals to view, create, and share digital spatial maps; these individuals currently have extremely limited access to map information (e.g., turn-by-turn directions on a navigation app or, more rarely, a tactile map). The specific objectives are:
- Create a multimodal map editor that can be used to create and edit maps
- Create a system that can manage and distribute maps
- Create a multisensory map component businesses and government institutions can embed in their website
The project is organized around the community living and participation outcome domain, with the following anticipated outcomes for BVI individuals: 1) Ability to independently create digital maps; 2) Ability to view digital maps; 3) Increased community living and participation in map related activities in school, at home, and at work; 4) Increased independent map access and access to map data; 5) Ability to independently create tactile maps from the Tactile Map Automated Production system from the LightHouse; and 6) Increased independence and confidence when traveling.
The expected products are a map creation tool, a system for sharing and creating maps, a multimodal web map component, an integration with TMAPs, marketing materials and training materials.