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Since a tablet PC can be handled by two hands thanks to its reasonable size it allows blind people to fully explore through touch the integrity of each component of a tablet PC. Accordingly, there is a growing body of research for the blind using tablet PCs with the majority based on auditory display. While many studies proposed various applications providing for blind users’ spatial information access through audio, but few were based on the basic concept of dimensionality in geography: “point-line-area.”
The purpose of this study is to test a feasibility of auditory geographic information systems (GIS) on a table PC based on the dimensionality of the traditional cartographical concept, with totally blind people.
Following the point-line-area dimensionality in cartography there are three kinds of tasks. 1) Identify the directions between two points depicting directions between two cities 2) Compare the lengths of lines depicting distances between two cities. 3) Compare the sizes of squares depicting sizes of two countries
Simple black-and-white images are used for testing which consist of a series of black dots and white background. The images are generated by a simple web-based form. Each black dot has a sound clip to be played when a stylus pen (equivalent to a mouse) is placed over it.
A user study on this prototype is being conducted by 20 completely blind participants, which is expected to be concluded by the end of April, 2007.
With the frame work of dimensionality from geography, more systematic testing is conducted to provide valuable information about the potential implementation of auditory interface on GIS for the blind. Moreover, since the participants are totally blind and the number of them is much more than other research on the blind, it will provide more valid information and conditions necessary for the implementation.
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