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    Experts in Poland develop new tactile maps for the visually impaired to better understand historic parks and gardens

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    A group of experts from several Polish institutions is working on a new type of tactile map for the visually impaired. These maps will allow individuals to better understand historic parks and gardens, not only in terms of the layout of pathways and greenery but also in terms of historical styles and other features.


    The team is using modern printing techniques, specifically 3D printing, to create tactile maps that will help individuals with visual impairments gain access to cultural sites. “Until now, historic parks and gardens have not received significant attention regarding their accessibility for the visually impaired, which goes beyond the ability to move around and perceive natural sensory experiences,” said Dr. Albina Mościcka, a professor at the Military University of Technology and head of the research team for the project “Technology for the development of tactile maps for historic park layouts,” in an interview with PAP and the Polish Science Portal.

    According to Dr. Emilia Śmiechowska-Petrovskij, a tyflo-pedagogue and member of the research team from the Faculty of Education Sciences at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, visually impaired individuals require tactile maps and plans that relate not only to public institutions but also to public and recreational spaces such as city parks.

    The researchers are developing the entire technology for creating tactile maps of historic gardens, from the concept stage (selecting the content scope, designing sign systems, developing editing rules and generalizations) to printing techniques. Mościcka added that they are examining various techniques, parameters, and materials for 3D printing.

    The tangible results of this technology will be prototypes of tactile maps for five different park styles created using this technology. These new tactile maps for the visually impaired will not only aid in navigation but will also provide insights into the history and style of historic gardens and parks.

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