Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)



Friday, April 01, 2016

Touch Mapper: Create a Tactile Map of any Outdoor Area

Touch Mapper,, is a service where anyone can create a tactile map automatically of any outdoor area. A typical map, 17 cm (6.7 inches) across, costs 35 euros (about 40 dollars though prices are subject to change). If you happen to have access to a 3D printer, you can print the map yourself, free of charge.


The maps include roads, buildings, railways and water areas. Roads of all sizes are included. Since pedestrian roads are often the most essential ones to label, they are elevated tactually more than other roads shown on the map. This feature allows blind people more easily to locate or determine a route that they intend to navigate on foot.


You can choose between different scales and map sizes. Roads can be printed in a different color than the rest of the map if desired.


The website is quite accessible with screen readers. The area that you wish to map out is selected by entering a street address into the edit box, and a tactile marker is placed on the map in that location. The north-east corner of the map is raised so you know which way to hold the map. 

Map data comes from OpenStreetMap, an open source map that anyone can edit, like Wikipedia.


Because the price point for these maps is much lower than the typical price point for traditional tactile maps, Touch Mapper makes it possible for the first time to get a tactile map for areas important to you; getting a map of your own neighborhood is a good example for a likely scenario for utilizing the service.

For more information, visit or email

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.