First interactive tactile map of Rīga developed

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The “Socintegra” association has developed the first interactive map of Riga for the blind, the association said January 11.

The map can be used by every person regardless of the visual condition – it can be studied by visual and tactile means. The map contains 170 objects – streets, parks, water bodies, buildings.

The author of the idea and the main developer of the map is Marija Kožarina, head of Socintegra. The association has been active since spring 2021.

"I have been working on designing tactile maps for the blind since 2010 and have a good understanding of the challenges and needs of people with special needs. It is difficult for blind people to navigate even in their hometowns. They have not developed spatial notions of the place where they live, of the directions. Using a tactile map, the blind actually knows the city, begins to imagine the routes that are used every day in areas adjacent to the home. In this way, a 3-D environmental scene is developed step by step," said Kožarina.

The association pointed out that there are more than 10 000 blind people in Latvia, and that all are more or less experiencing orientation difficulties. The basic skills of the use of tactile cards are acquired in a specialized school. For adults, learning maps becomes impossible. Blind people rarely go outside the borders of their district, and the socialization process is difficult.


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