Typhlocartography (the branch of cartography that deals with maps for the blind and visually impaired) analyses the way blind and visually impaired people learn about maps, examining the differences between reading a map with sight and with touch or impaired vision. On the basis of these observations, he develops editorial, graphic and technological solutions that are optimal for use on maps for the blind and visually impaired. The result of these activities is the development of a set of principles and guidelines, concerning the generalisation of content elements, the design of signs, the selection of appropriate cartographic methods, the placement of descriptions and a number of other factors affecting the legibility of maps for the blind and visually impaired.
Establishing these principles and 'implementing' them is very important for the future of typhlocartography.
When developing tactile maps, we do not have the same editorial freedom as in traditional cartography. Free colouring, typefaces of different sizes, the introduction of isomorphic signs, pictograms, enriching maps with non-standard shots and new information are absolutely unacceptable activities for tactile-colour maps. Here we must be aware of the limitations of the audience and the need for uniform solutions aiming at simplicity and standardisation.
Tifflocartography is completely dependent on the viewer.
For the cartographer, the blind and visually impaired viewer limits his editorial work, does not allow the application of generally accepted cartographic principles, and is an additional and at the same time the most important factor influencing the degree of generalisation of the tifflomap. And this is the essence of tiflocartography - this relationship that is absolute, but necessary for the resulting tactile map to be legible, because if it is not legible it is not a tiflomap.
The editing of tactile-colour maps, which are unquestionably tyflocartography, should meet the above guidelines and 'smuggle in' cartographic principles. The word "smuggle" is deliberately used, because the blind community puts the tiflological principles first and all others are not so important for the viewer. And this is justified, because the legibility of convex graphics is a priority. But if it is possible to "smuggle in" some cartographic principles that do not affect the legibility of tiflomaps it is only to the benefit of this type of study.
On the TYFLOMAPS sub-page you will find guidelines that organise the rules for developing tifflomaps. They have been created on the basis of many years' experience and after many tactile elaborations, which made it possible to summarise in the form of guidelines all the work done so far. I invite you to familiarise yourself with the principles proposed by its authors. It is also worth reading about the history of tiflocartography and taking a look at selected articles on the subject of tactile colour maps.