People with visual impairments will be able to get to know the sights of the Czech Republic better with unique tactile maps created by Jakub Žejdlík, a graduate of the programme Geoinformatics and Cartography at the UP Faculty of Science. At the prestigious 25th annual Map of the Year cartographic competition, he won the highest award in the category of student cartographic work for his Master’s thesis entitled “Tyfloprůvodce po vybraných památkách Česka” (Guide to selected monuments of Czechia for people with visual impairment). In addition to this award, the Department of Geoinformatics and Cartography of the UP Faculty of Science received two special awards for the long-term production of maps within the M.A.P.S. series and for quality cartographic processing of dialect data.
“The guide, which I created as part of my Master’s thesis, is a unique publication whose aim is to help people with visual impairments better understand the historical, architectural and especially spatial character of selected monuments in the Czech Republic. Thanks to this, people with this handicap can expand the possibilities of spending their free time,” said Jakub Žejdlík.
The guide presents 16 selected monuments in the form of tactile maps and is designed for people with partial or severe visual impairment who need assistance to navigate in space. The Braille maps describe, for example, Charles Bridge, the National Theatre, Karlštejn Castle, the Church of St. Maurice in Olomouc, and Villa Tugendhat in Brno.
Pages containing tactile maps are printed using a special device – a fuser, which enables printing on special microcapsule paper with a heat-sensitive layer. When the paper is heated, the black-printed parts rise above its surface and create a tactile graphic, which helps the visually impaired to get an idea of the shape of the monument.
“I really appreciate winning the Map of the Year 2022 competition, as all the other nominated works were really great. I am pleased, that with my work, I could help make tactile cartography visible to the general public, the branch of cartography dedicated to the creation of maps for people with visual impairments,” added Žejdlík.
In addition to this award, the UP FS Department of Geoinformatics also received two special awards in this year’s Map of the Year competition. One for their long-standing map production within the M.A.P.S. series and the other for the quality cartographic processing of dialect data, which was awarded together with the dialectological award of the Czech Language Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. “The success of Olomouc cartography in this year’s competition of the Czech Cartographic Society continues the tradition of the internationally recognized quality of cartographers and geoinformation scientists from Palacký University Olomouc,” said the founder of the Map of the Year competition, Vít Voženílek from the UP FS Department of Geoinformatics.
The Map of the Year cartographic competition has been organised by the Czech Cartographic Society since 1998. “We were inspired to create the Map of the Year competition by competitions such as Stamp of the Year, Book of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, and Athlete of the Year. It wasn’t so much about any media exposure, because it is a professional competition. Our aim was at least get the map producers to meet during the announcement of the competition results and to establish contacts or resolve problems, if any,” added Voženílek.