[Art_beyond_sight_educators] Joshua Miele on NPR, ancient tactile maps, color blind code, smell maps

fnugg at online.no fnugg at online.no
Fri Oct 5 13:18:57 UTC 2012


Some interesting finds today. A great radio program with Joshua Miele 
and maps, articles about Inuit floating maps. Then articles about an 
artist who makes sensory maps - smell maps    and emotion maps - based 
on Inuit floating maps.



radio program
Maps Help the Blind See
Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco just launched the first-ever 
program to provide blind people with Braille maps. For the maps' 
inventor, who was blinded at the age of 4, this is part of a crusade to 
change the way people think about blindness.


Portuguese designer becomes 'hero' for the colourblind

PORTO (Portugal), March 22 --- Identifying lines on a colour-coded metro 
map is tricky for those who can't see some colours. Choosing clothes or 
telling a green from a red apple can be just as baffling.

But the pioneering work of a designer in the northern Portuguese city of 
Porto means such quandaries may soon pose less of a challenge for the 
colour blind.

Miguel Neiva has spent much of the past decade creating a simple 
colour-coding system that employs easy-to-memorise symbols for the 
colour blind to distinguish between certain pigments, such as red and green.

Though Neiva is not himself colour blind, he says childhood experiences 
formed the basis of his current work.

"I had a colour-blind friend at primary school who for years was 
victimised by children like me who mocked him," says the 42-year-old 
Neiva, speaking from his studio.

About eight per cent of the male population has some degree of colour 
vision deficiency, according to several sight associations, whereas less 
than one percent of women are affected.

Neiva's so-called ColorADD system is based on primary colours. A 
diagonal slash symbolises yellow, while red and blue are represented by 
triangles pointing in different directions.

Remarkable Seniors Recognized

  .... Daniel applied the same focus to academics as he did to music, 
said his father, Roger Gillen.

Mr. Gillen gives the example of Daniel's penchant for geography from an 
early age.

"He would make tactile maps --- he was very much interested in maps --- 
and he made a map of the world across our bedroom wall with these little 
Wikki Stix. And it was quite remarkable, because we weren't exactly sure 
how Daniel learned the actual physical outlay of countries," he said.

In looking back on his school years, Daniel's proudest accomplishment, 
he said, was mastering a mainstream school environment.


Ancient tactile maps to ease navigation of coast lines

In a comment 
to my business blog <http://ifluxplus.blogspot.com/>, mprove 
<http://www.blogger.com/profile/03656128393157108132> pointed me to the 
cover of Bill Buxton's book 'Sketching User Experiences' 
It shows a close-up of some physical artefact that is not discernable at 
first glance. On page 36 
you can find the explanation what it is: it's a map made of wood showing 
some coastal region which was used by the Inuit people to navigate along 
the shores of Canada and Greenland (see the picture below)

Tactile Maps and Imaginary Geographies
story on NPR about Braille city maps for the blind 
instantly reminded me of some artifacts I had read about during one of 
my literature surveys for my oral exams (/Place as Recently Imagined by 
Archaeologists/, to be exact).

Peter Whitridge wrote a brilliant article titled /Landscapes, Houses, 
Bodies, Things: "Place" and the Archaeology of Inuit Imaginaries/ 
<http://www.springerlink.com/content/g7nv4h41h2x40610/> that queried the 
binary set up between space and place wherein space is portrayed as 
empty, scientific, geometrical, and place is embodied, historical, 
culturally-constructed. To do this, he demonstrated Inuit placemaking in 
songs, myths, legends, even tongue-twisters where Unalakleet place names 
are strung together--mnemonics of places along travel routes. Personhood 
encorporates place, and every personal name corresponds with a place 
name; both people and places are signified as important by the very fact 
of being given specific names.

The Inuit made songs, but they also made maps. These were often sketched 
in snow or sand, but some of them were sketched on paper with pencil for 
European explorers, and were intelligible to these Westerners. These are 
interesting in comparable abstractions of space (thus directly 
addressing Whitridge's question about the space/place binary) but I am 
more interested in the 3D wood carvings of the East Greenland coastline, 
with the details of inlets and islands in sculptural relief. These could 
be employed by at night in conjunction with the stars, feeling your way 
along the coastline, navigating at an intimate scale.

I wonder if tactile maps could be extrapolated to other domains--what 
would a tactile BART <http://www.bart.gov/index.asp>map feel like? What 
about an archaeological map? Would the relief become sharper under our 
fingertips as we came closer to concentrations of artifacts, living 
spaces? Would it become hot as we came closer to the hearth, cool as we 
traveled to a periphery? I'll have to try it sometime--the reaction of a 
field director as I handed her a carved stick after survey might be 
worth it.


Blind architects have a real feel for the site lines

Reporting from San Francisco --- The architects met on a damp October 
Saturday and set off to visit a modern New York landmark, the American 
Folk Art Museum.

The building is clad in lustrous bronze panels that shift in color as 
they catch the sun's slow trek across the sky. Inside, a skylight shoots 
brilliant beams into a grand interior space.


Tactile Map Making (usually Part II of Putting ORIENTATION back into O&M)

Presenter: Diane Brauner

Most young students with visual impairments learn best with "hands-on" 
materials. Using tactile materials, such as a map, is a /concrete /way 
to build abstract spatial concepts. Good tactile maps can condense a 
large, complex environment into a small, functional overview of the 
area. Students can learn to quickly explore the tangible map - gleaning 
critical spatial and orientation concepts. These tactile maps also help 
to develop good mental maps. With a good mental map, a student can learn 
to travel independently and confidently in familiar and unfamiliar 
environments. Even preschoolers -- with the proper pre-map training -- 
can use simple tactile maps effectively. This session will elaborate on 
how to teach these "foundation" map skills, when and how to introduce 
maps skills to young students, demonstrate easy ways to quickly make 
quality tactile maps for students and adults of all ages, analyze 
previously made maps and many other map related concepts


Orientation and Mobility in Texas <http://www.tsbvi.edu/blog/om/>

In case you had not heard already, or have not had a chance to review it 
yet, The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) has finalized and 
published their Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics. It is now 
available on their Web site for download as a PDF and is an excellent 
resource in planning and producing tactile graphics for working with 
students and clients. The direct link to the site is 

Of particular interest for orientation and mobility is Unit 8 that 
details considerations and strategies for maps tailored to the student's 
travel environment. The initial Units of the document provide wonderful 
templates and other specific areas to consider for determining materials 
to be used and specifying the goal of the tactile graphic or map to 
ensure that the main goal of your work is adequately represented as the 
emphasis of the final product. Also, immediately preceding the specific 
orientation and mobility section is an example of a complex diagram of a 
bus route; this is at the end of Unit 7.


Edinburgh Castle as a tactile map. A collaborative research project with 
FSB Enterprises in Kircaldy and the Scottish Research Council to develop 
a tactile maps for use bu tourism and recreation. Graphics use a new 
method of plastic printing.

tactile emotional map

An emotional map based on the Inuit floating maps of fishing grounds. 
This map depicts the emotional state of a person undertaking their first 
year of an MFA at Edinurgh College of Art.



My research investigates smell perceptions of the city environment, 
depicting the findings in a variety of artistic, cartographic forms and 
augmenting and altering the maps on the basis of audience response.

In an ocular-centric world we should seek alternative platforms for 
meaningful communication, including multi-sensory, non-visual and the 
stimulation of personal memory through the creation of ambiance.

My work draws from contemporary cartographic theory and sensory 
ethnography to develop tools for analyzing sensory ethnographic 
findings; visual and linguistic descriptors for an odor classification 
system; and to contribute to debates on promoting memorable urban 
tourism where tourists fulfill multiple roles as authors, consumers and 
producers of the smellscape.

smell map

Tactile & Braille Signs


Lines in the Darkness: An Atlas for the Blind

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