While GIS is mostly a visual technology, there are many advancements focused on providing spatial analysis and maps for the visually impaired and blind.
Navigation Through Sound
Researchers at the University of Bristol have designed a helmet that guides visually impaired walkers through the use of sound.
BATS: The Blind Audio Tactile Mapping System
The Blind Audio Tactile Mapping System (BATS) project focuses on research by helping people without sight access and explore spatial information.
A More Accessible Map
Sean Duffey from the web design web site “A List Apart” outlines how to break out the underlying map data from the visual layout to create online maps that are more accessible to the visually impaired.
To Develop Maps for the Blind that are Created by the Blind
December 24, 2006 article in Lawrence-World Journal on the efforts of Kansas University graduate student Rachel Margario’s efforts to create a tactile map of the campus.
Tactile Map Automated Production (TMAP)
This technology uses free GIS data and off-the-shelf embossing technology to create tactile maps for the visually impaired.
Google Launches Speech Friendly Google Maps
Announced through the Official Google Blog, Google Maps now offers a simple text interface that can be read by speech recognition programs or for quick text-based directions. Called Textual Maps UI is set up for users to type simple English queries with the starting and ending addresses of the trip