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The Accessible Virtual Campus

Geography (Maps)

Illustration represents Geography Section of the Virtual Campus.

Maps are often inaccessible to individuals with visual impairments and may be difficult to understand for many others. See what can be done to make accessible maps.

Instructional Methods and Media & Materials links will provide tips to help you create universally designed materials. 

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A More Accessible Map

Is there a way to display text-based data on a map, keeping it accessible, useful, and visually attractive? Yes there is by using an accessible CSS-based map in which the underlying map data is separated from the visual layout. This web article explains, and gives an example for making web-based maps more accessible.

Duffy, S - "A List Apart"

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Curriculum Transformation and Disability

This website provides the book Implementing Universal Design in Higher Education for free. "The purpose of this book is to introduce readers to the concepts of Universal Design (UD) and Universal Instructional Design (UID). This collection of essays addresses learning both within and outside the classroom, recognizing the role higher education plays in developing the “whole” person (American Council on Education, 1937, 1949; National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, 1989)."

University of Minnesota

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Evaluation of the Colorbrewer Color Schemes for Accommodation of Map Readers with Impaired Color Vision

This thesis titled "Evaluation of the Colorbrewer Color Schemes for Accommodation of Map Readers with Impaired Color Vision" reviews the literature regarding colorblindness and helps to refine the ColorBrewer tool. This study examines the differences in map reading ability and color perception between individuals with impaired color vision and individuals with normal color vision.

A Thesis in Geography by Steven D. Gardner, Pennsylvania State University, Graduate School, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

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MAPS: w3c-wai-discussion: April to June 2004

This public discussion from 2004, courtesy of W3C World Wide Web Consortium contains several discussions regarding web based maps, road maps and accessibility. The content is geared to web technology professionals.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

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Rubric for Evaluating Universal Design of Syllabus

This printable rubric provides a guide to evaluate a syllabus based on different elements using universal design components.

EnACT, California State University

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Scaleable Vector Graphics-Maps for People with Visual Impairment

In depth discussion/"how-to" with sources - books, conference proceedings, and web link. This website presents how Scaleable Vector Graphics increase "accessibility and interactivity to help people with visual impairment read audio-tactile maps."

SVG Conference

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Smithsonian Guidelines For Accessible Exhibition Design

This pdf document contains Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design. Accessible design must be a part of the new philosophy of exhibition development because people with disabilities are a part of museums diverse audience. Discovering exciting, attractive ways to make exhibitions accessible will most directly serve people with disabilities and older adults. But to name an audience who will not benefit by these designs is impossible. Accessibility begins as a mandate to serve people who have been discriminated against for centuries; it prevails as a tool that serves diverse audiences for a lifetime.

Smithsonian Accessibility Program

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To Develop Maps for the Blind that are Created by the Blind

In this brief article, a graduate student from Kansas University draws on personal experience and faculty support in a comprehensive project to create tactile diagrams of campus.

Maines, S. in the Lawrence Journal-World & News

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What is GIS? Geographic Information Systems

Basics of GIS as background to accessible maps. "GIS is a broad field, requiring expertise in a range of areas ranging from cartography, systems administration, relational database management, programming and of course, spatial analysis."

GIS Lounge

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It took me several years of struggling with the heavy door to my building, sometimes having to wait until a person stronger came along, to realize that the door was an accessibility problem, not only for me, but for others as well. And I did not notice, until one of my students pointed it out, that the lack of signs that could be read from a distance at my university forced people with mobility impairments to expend a lot of energy unnecessarily, searching for rooms and offices. Although I have encountered this difficulty myself on days when walking was exhausting to me, I interpreted it, automatically, as a problem arising from my illness (as I did with the door), rather than as a problem arising from the built environment having been created for too narrow a range of people and situations.

Susan Wendell, author of
The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability