Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 13.37.26Czech Republic internet company, Seznam.cz is excited to introduce its new innovation in Haptic mapping technology to the UK market.  Aimed at the visually impaired, this revolutionary tool will transform travel to the Czech Republic, bringing every corner of the country within reach via tactile map technology.

Haptic Maps, created by Seznam.cz, are able to unlock a world of travel which has been previously limited for the blind and visually impaired. Ordinary foundation maps are converted to be easily read through touch, once printed on microcapsule paper.  Until now, the production of tactile maps has been time consuming and has required a substantial amount of manual work. The new Haptic Maps by Seznam.cz use a specific map key that generates black and white maps which, once printed on special paper using a fuser, then swell so that they are readable via touch. These maps are available on a dedicated webpage hapticke.mapy.cz, which is optimised for the creation of individual printed map sheets.

Seznam.cz collaborated on the tactile maps project with two universities: Teiresias Centre at Masaryk University in Brno and The Elsa Centre at Czech Technical University in Prague. Seznam.cz provided the map data and designed the technology behind the Haptic mapping, whilst the university departments fine-tuned the design of the maps, including the map key, density and placement of various elements.

“Over the last 10 years, we have closely monitored the accessibility of our web services and have worked with various organisations to highlight any areas where our services could be improved.  Tourism and mapping for the visually impaired was a key area of concern and I believe that our new Haptic Maps will provide a simple and practical solution for our consumers, opening up a new aspect of tourism to our beautiful country,” said Pavel Zima, the general manager of Seznam.cz, the number one Czech internet company, offering full text search, news services and map servers.

The tactile maps are available to view at hapticke.mapy.cz.