Brno Zoo Launches Tactile Map to Facilitate Vision-Impaired Visitors
Thanks to the Teiresiás Center, visually-impaired visitors to Brno Zoo will now be provided with support from a new “tactile map”, which contains information about most enclosures, important buildings and basic information on the animals. Photo credit: Michal Vaoaf / Zoo Brno.
Brno, Aug 10 (BD) – Since the beginning of August, Brno Zoo has been easier and more fun for blind and vision-impaired visitors, thanks to a newly-launched tactile map, created in cooperation with Masaryk University’s Center for Assistance to Students with Special Needs – Teiresiás. The maps are now available free of charge.
“Our intention was for blind users of the map to get an idea of what is in the area, how far away, choose what they would like to visit, and plan their route accordingly. In the case of the zoo, blind visitors will probably be accompanied by a guide, but thanks to the map will not be completely reliant on them; they will be able to plan the trip together and possibly even split up,” said Ondřej Nečas from the Teiresiás Center, one of the creators of the tactile map.
Visitors will find roads, important buildings and pavilions, train stations, toilets and refreshments on the tactile map. “We tried to provide as much information as possible about the animals. It was not possible to mark every enclosure, but we wanted to point out at least the important ones,” explained Nečas. The roads have been slightly simplified, the buildings are marked with a symbol rather than a shape and only have a one-word description. In case of an emergency, the map is marked with a contact number for zoo staff, who can provide advice or assistance.
The creation of the map took place in several phases. The designers first decided which elements would be included on the map, then with the basic design they went through the entire zoo and checked the location of all entered points. The final stage was to modify the design for dot printing. According to Nečas, the tactile graphics used are similar to braille. While there is a “lower resolution” in the sense that the paper can hold less information, the upside of the map is its high durability and the low price of materials, which allows for a large number of copies to be printed at low cost.
The maps are available free of charge at the Brno Zoo box office, and there should be more than enough for every visually-impaired visitor to receive their own. In further continuation of the partnership between Brno Zoo and the Teiresiás Center, tactile descriptions of the relief information within the zoo complex will also be developed.