Rice, M., Jacobson, R.D., Golledge, R.G., and Jones, D. (2005) Design Considerations for Haptic and Auditory Map Interfaces. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 32 (4), 381-391http://dx.doi.org/10.1559/152304005775194656
Communicating spatial information to the blind and visually impaired using maps and graphics presents many difficulties. Past research has offered advice to cartographers on topics such as tactile areal, point, and line symbolization; on perceptual problems related to dense linear features on tactile maps; and on the relationship between categorical data, measurement theory, and tactile discrimination. With this previous work as a foundation, we describe our research efforts with haptic and auditory maps - the Haptic Soundscapes Project. Haptic Soundscapes maps allow blind and visually-impaired individuals to feel map features through force feedback devices and hear auditory cues that add both redundant and complementary information. Recent experimental work by the authors has led to several recommended practices for cartographic data simplification, object size discrimination, shape identification, and general interface navigation. The authors also present haptic and auditory mapping examples to illustrate design ideas, algorithms, and technical requirements. Future prospects for automated haptic and auditory map creation are discussed and presented in the context of the past work in generating maps for the blind and visually impaired from cartographic data.