The journal of the Cartographic society of the Slovak Republic

The journal of the Cartographic Society

of the Slovak Republic

ISSN 1336-5274 (print)
ISSN 2729-8094 (online)

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Creation and user testing of tactile maps for teaching geography in Czechia

Bečicová, K., Vondráková, A.: Creation and user testing of tactile maps for teaching geography in Czechia. Kartografické listy, 2021, 29 (2).

Abstract: The needs pupils with visual impairment in geographic learning are very specific. Therefore, it is important to address this topic to provide these pupils with quality education in the geographical area. The development of compensation aids, mainly tactile maps, is very important, and modern technologies are implemented to create teaching aids for pupils with visual disabilities. The paper aims to present an educational set of geographical tactile maps and their design and production process. The task was to design a set of tactile maps using TouchIt3D technology. This technology connects the 3D printed plastic maps with smart devices (tablet) and makes the tactile map interactive. The solution is based on classical 3D printing technology. The maps were modelled in SketchUp and then printed on 3D printer Ultimaker 3. User testing focused on comprehensibility, readability, and understanding of the created tactile maps was performed with respondents aged 6–26. The whole map design process was discussed with experts on special pedagogy. The resulting sets of tactile maps include a set using TouchIt3D technology and TactileMapTalk application, a set of plastic 3D maps for common use, and a set of black and white outline tactile maps printed by the fuser. The resulting maps are used directly in teaching geography. Thanks to TouchIt3D technology, pupils with visual impairment are provided with more spatial information in a modern and attractive way.

Keywords: tactile cartography, tactile map, 3D print, geography, TouchIt3D technology