[Accessibility] Audio-tactile maps on smart phones

Nolan Darilek nolan at thewordnerd.info
Mon Dec 12 10:31:55 GMT 2011

It occurs to me that this should be fairly easily done on Android 4.0 
using its new accessibility APIs, and maybe without any custom plugins 
for the nav apps.


The key would be making the map view export itself as a hierarchy of 
AccessibilityNodeInfo objects. One challenge would be dividing all map 
features, even things like curving roads, into a series of rectangles. 
You would then create an AccessibilityNodeInfo for each of these 
rectangles and set a meaningful content description via 

There might need to be a bit of support on the screen reader side, but 
the result would be a map that works both visually and accessibly.

No time to work on such a project myself, but I'm happy to provide 
whatever screen reader support I can in Spiel. This would be a neat project.

On 12/12/2011 04:17 AM, robert wrote:
> Audio-tactile maps on smart phones
> I would like to have an OSM map accessible for visually impaired users
> with a program that makes sounds when you move your finger over the map.
> A different sound for the different map items (roads, water and
> buildings) and that speaks the names on the map. By moving your finger
> over the map  you know what is where on the map.
> You know where your finger is on the device and you hear what is under
> your finger so you can make an image in your mind what is where.
> If the map is centered around you (with GPS) you can find out what is
> around you and where to go.
> You would not need special hardware, just a smart phone with gps and
> touchscreen and one that knows its orientation.
> By adapting one of the open source  programs that use OSM maps (like
> Navit) you would not need to completely write a navigation and map
> viewing program. You would just need to develop a plugin/module for such
> a program to satisfy our needs.
> I have also posted the idea in the Navit forum  on sourceforge.net
> http://sourceforge.net/projects/navit/forums/forum/512959
> Does anyone have ideas about  how to organize and program (write the
> code) this?
> Thanks,
> Robert
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