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.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Throwback Thursday: Relief Map of Asia

It may seem like I have maps on the brain, as this is my third straight Throwback Thursday blog about a map or a map device.  I admit that we do have a lot of tactile maps in our collection, and I do find them interesting.  I was talking with one of our tactile graphics experts, Fred Otto, about maps the other day, and it is interesting to compare all the ways that map designers have devised to suggest political boundaries, land forms, and the imaginary lines that mapmakers use.  We agreed that it is a challenge to translate geography into a usable and meaningful tactile experience.  I do know that our museum visitors, sighted and blind, enjoy exploring our maps by touch.  Our object this week is a relief map of Asia that comes from a series of continental maps we introduced in 1984.  Brightly painted and molded out of plastic, the maps each had a raised rail on their border, that would allow the teacher to actually fill the lower part of the map with water!  The kit came with narrated descriptions and guidance on an audio cassette.


(Caption:  Bright blue and white plastic relief map of Asia with mountain chains highlighted in red.  Areas of water have a pebbled texture.)

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