Maps for Blind People

T.V. Raman talks about this interesting feature provided by Google

By on December 27th, 2006 07:44 GMT
Google Maps is one of the most important products provided by Google because it allows you to view interactive maps captured directly from the satellite. Imagine that a map cannot be viewed by a blind man unless it is based on a Braille display.

Many online companies tried to create products designed especially for blind people but only a few managed to develop powerful solutions. Google is one of these companies, being the first firm that introduced audio captchas for visiting secure websites.

T.V. Raman, a technologist who cannot see, posted a message on the Google official blog to say that Google Maps is one of the services that allow blind people to view interactive maps directly from the internet. Of course, the maps are not directly accessible but, as you might know, the service also provides a powerful function that offers directions available via a screenreader or a Braille display.

"As an alternative, Google Maps also provides a simple to use a textual interface that serves up directions very efficiently when working with a screenreader or a Braille display. This alternative view into Google Maps is here, at the Textual Maps UI. It's extremely useful for blind and visually impaired users, as well as an effective solution for those times when you're at a non-graphical display and need to quickly look up a location.

Just type a simple English query of the form start address to end address and quickly get the information you're looking for. Though we added this option to enhance the accessibility of Google Maps for blind and low-vision users, perhaps others will find this alternative view a useful addition to their maps arsenal," he said.