Re: BRAILLE MAPS AND DIAGRAMS

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Greg Kearney

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Nov 29, 2016, 12:38:45 PM11/29/16
to Knowledge For The Blind, cb...@googlegroups.com
I can help with this as I have done this kind of work. There are many different ways to generate tactile maps and graphics which run from the very simple and inexpensive to the incredibly complex and expensive.

This being Africa however I will focus my discussion here to the simple and inexpensive. I generally do this anyway even if we are talking about other parts of the world.

Maps and diagrams can be produced using a set of simple tools in particular a freehand embossing tool which can be employed to raise the line of a printed map or diagram. These are sometimes referred to as Tongs. The other tool in common use is pattern makers wheels these two tools combined with building up tactile graphics with items such as string and cardboard, can, with care be employed to produce tactile graphics by hand from locally sourced materials and talent.

In all tactile graphics however the issue is one of the resolution of the graphic. By its very nature tactile graphics will, unless produced very, very large, not have the same degree of information resolution as their printed counterparts and so care must be taken in deciding just what information you might wish to show and how to show it.

For example in your example of a map of Nigeria the change you face will be how to represent the smaller coastal states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Imo or Abia and in particular states with complex river delta systems such as Bayelsa and Delta.

To do this you may well need to produce a general map of Nigeria showing a lower resolution of the states with the major rivers, the Niger and the Benue for example and then produce separate larger maps for the states in question.

It is deciding what information to show, be it diagrams or maps and at what resolution to show them that is the key in making tactile graphics. 

I would suggest the book Tactile Graphics ISBN 9780891281948 as a good source for information. 

To show all of this in action here are a couple of pictures of the tools and process I used to make a tactile map of Kogi state in Nigeria. 

First I printed out a map of Nigeria showing Kogi State onto A4 Braille paper using a standard computer printer.

The outline of the country was done with the freehand stylus at the top of the first picture, the coastline was done by first marking the coastline with the freehand tool then turning the sheet of paper over and tracing the coastline with a pattern makers wheel to give the coastline a different feel from the land boarders. The black mat below the paper is a rubber pad I use to get the pattern makers wheels to make a good raised impression.

Braille was added with the left to right braille slate in the lower image. The total cost of all the tools and materials is less that US$50

Freehand stylus and pattern makers wheels

Left to right braille slate used for map captions.

I hope this is some help to someone. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Commonwealth Braille & Talking Book Cooperative
Greg Kearney, General Manager
#320, 185-911 Yates Street
Victoria, BC V8V 4Y9
CANADA
Email: in...@cbtbc.org
Web: www.cbtbc.org

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On Nov 29, 2016, at 3:36 AM, Knowledge For The Blind <knowledgef...@gmail.com> wrote:

Thank you very much for your reply to our search. 

We need to produce maps of the different states in Nigeria, and the continents. We also need diagrams in Biology, Geography, of animals and other educational diagrams for primary and secondary school children.  If you can help us, we can send you pictures of the various states.  Would this service be free or for a fee?

Looking into the future, we need guidance and equipment support to start an in-house Braille educational resources production.   What are the equipment you use for producing these resources.  What are the hardware, software and consumables needed?  Who do you recommend we approach for donation of equipment and who produces the consumable(s)?  

Look forward to reading from you soon. 
Thank you

Andrew Gani-Ikilama
Executive Director     
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