Verbally Annotated Tactile Maps – Challenges and Approaches

  • Christian Graf
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6222)


Survey knowledge of spatial environments can be successfully conveyed by visual maps. For visually impaired people, tactile maps have been proposed as a substitute. The latter are hard to read and to understand. This paper proposes how the cognitive disadvantages can be compensated for by Verbally Annotated Tactile (VAT) maps. VAT maps combine two representational components: a verbal annotation system as a propositional component and a tactile map as a spatial component. It is argued that users will benefit from the cross-modal interaction of both. In a pilot study it is shown that using tactile You-Are-Here maps that only implement the spatial component is not optimal. I argue that some of the problems observed can be compensated for by incorporating verbal annotations. Research questions on cross-modal interaction in VAT maps are formulated that address the challenges that have to be overcome in order to benefit from propositional and spatial representations induced by VAT maps.


verbal annotation tactile map representation navigation representational modality multimodality 


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  • Christian Graf

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