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Extracting meaningful information from a tactile map, that is a map elevated in the third dimension, designed to be read by the sense of touch, is far more problematic than reading a conventional map with the use of vision. Tactile maps are widely used in educational settings and in orientation and mobility training for visually impaired individuals. Maps and graphics are the most fundamental and primary mechanism for communicating spatial arrangements to blind people—that is, any representation of spatial features, their arrangement, and intrarelation-ships. Tactile graphics are used as diagrams in school textbooks and portable maps when traveling. Just as Braille is often used as a substitute for the written word, tactile graphics are the equivalent for maps and diagrams. These are essential tools ...

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