The tactile station maps are designed to be navigable with a Smart Pen, a low-cost ($150) audible, hand-held tool. Mapped features are categorized into three layers (Street, Concourse, Platform) within a highly selective taxonomy. Map readers would peruse maps during route planning to memorize station layouts in advance rather than consult them in real time during travel. To facilitate communication with sighted or low-vision map readers and those who don't read braille each feature is displayed in high-contrast colors, embossed, braille and with single character acronyms. Because of this 'Rosetta Stone' characteristic of the map elements and the necessity that layouts be committed to memory the taxonomy has been deliberately restricted to no more than 8 -12 per layer.
Sample map book, 03-05-11
Tactile cartographer, Greeta Ahart (LFTB), accessibility architect BJ Epstein and project manager Greg Kehnart (LFTB) have been working with Dr. Miehle to produce base maps, design team workflow and organize volunteers to collect feature sets by station. This team has produced tactile map book samples and a first generation tactile map of the Oakland Coliseum BART station. All other BART stations were surveyed on March 5, 2011 by a volunteer team of approximately thirty Occupational & Mobility experts, architects and cartographers.
Tactile maps will be produced from the data sets in the coming weeks.
Interim results of this mapping project were presented Friday March 11, 2011 at the CTEBVI- California Educators Transcribers for the Blind and Visually Impaired, http://www.ctevh.org/conference.htm. In the conference Dr Miehle spoke about his hope that this effort can provide a useful model for transportation systems around the world.