Today, lets see how we can convert normal maps of India, cities and continents to Tactile.
Step 1 : Determine the size. A tactile map almost always will need to be hanged at some place, so ask the person upfront if they want it hanged and if they have enough space.
2. Check the storage conditions. This is very important. Where the storage is in a damp place, ensure that only a laminated map is used.
3. Decide on the details. Tactile detailing takes space. Braille labels take space. Do work out what is possible in advance. The boundary (be it city, country) is definitely required. The capital is also required.
4. Get started: First, create the outline with the dark colored twine. It is easier to work from inside out than to work outside in.
5. After the twine, come the buttons, bindis or crystals.
6. The Braille labels come at the end.
7. Use long stay glue to ensure the longevity of the map.
8. Pack in cling film for storage.
1. It is NOT advised to put braille labels on cities unless the map is big enough to have labels next to ALL cities. Much easier to use a different type of button for each city, and then to create a legend somewhere (bottom right corner usually) . There need to be 2 buttons of each type. Please touch the buttons with your eyes closed to ensure that you can tell them apart without looking at them.
2. The continent boundaries should be thicker than the country boundary, and the country boundary thicker than the state boundary.
3. When creating maps of cities, use territorial markings only. Refer a municipality approved map.
4. Do not mix physical and political maps in the same map. Create 2 different maps . They are easy to do.
5. When doing physical maps, we can use the following indicative materials:
1. Flat Lands: Green velvet paper.
2. Mountains/ Peaks: Use simple game counters for peaks. You can also create small 3D peaks using play dough that children use. Don't make them so high that the person cannot navigate around the peaks to the base.
3. For plateaus, raise the surface according to the nature of the plateau. You can also use material like thermocol if required.
4. For water bodies, you can use 3D paints to create a "wave" pattern within the body in addition to using high contrast blue.
5. All physical maps can be legended using buttons, bindis, cones etc, so long as these items are physically distinguishable. But do legending only after discussion with the user. Not all users are braille literate.
6. DO draw a scale on tactile maps. That one needs to be labelled.
Here is a sample tactile map that we made once: