Monday, April 27, 2009

Tactile Models & Maps

Isn’t it great when you discover the name and reason for something you’ve noticed from time to time? The 3-D maps I’ve written about in the past are actually called tactile models or tactile maps. They are not just to help sighted visitors get a better geographic understanding of an area, but also to allow blind people to experience the architecture. Scott D. sent me some links to other maps and I found even more recently. Bronze is a popular material for tactile maps because it sustains ware of constant touching, threats of vandalism and effects of exposure to ocean salt air. The Dog Rose Trust has been involved in the production of tactile scale models for many years. While these models have Braille and clear lettering on them, they are for everyone to use. People who are blind and visually impaired say that a tactile model gives them the best idea of a building or environment. At the Cabrillo National Monument near the city of San Diego, tactile model of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and outbuildings enables visitors to experience the lighthouse area as it once was. The second set of bronze tactile models installed interprets the Old Point Loma Lighthouse and its setting in San Diego Bay. These models were installed in a plaza with an audio station at the end of the walk leading to the lighthouse. A 3-D historical marker is a miniature of the Top of the Ocean Restaurant which was an ocean liner shaped restaurant on the Tacoma, Washington waterfront from 1946 through 1977. The marker is mounted below a replica of the building at the site where it stood.

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