Thematic tactile maps for accessible flood mitigation planning: design and evaluation

Harrison Cole, Anthony Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maps are frequently employed in the natural hazard mitigation planning (NHMP) process for analyze a community’s vulnerability to hazards and illustrating the character of potential hazards. But because the encoded information of these maps relies on visual access, blind or low-vision (B/LV) people who want to contribute to their community’s NHMP efforts are therefore effectively excluded from any stage of the process involving maps. In response, we investigate tactile flood maps as an accessible tool for NHMP. Our study proposes a workflow for creating thematic tactile flood maps using existing resources, methods, and design conventions, and then evaluates those thematic tactile maps to understand user confidence amongst B/LV users. This work contributes a proposed configuration of tactile mapping resources to be used for NHMP and evaluates user confidence while using those resources. Results suggest that B/LV users respond positively to using tactile maps in a high-stakes context such as NHMP, and that tactile maps can expand the number and diversity of people who are able to contribute to NHMP. To maximize contributions, we recommend that future tactile map research invest a greater amount of attention to developing resources for B/LV people to create, edit, and distribute maps themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)574-592
Number of pages19
JournalCartography and Geographic Information Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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