Interactive Exploration of City Maps with Auditory Torches

Heuten, W. and Henze, N. and Boll, S.
CHI 07: Human factors in computing systems
City maps are an important means to get an impression of the structure of cities. They represent visual abstraction of urban areas with different geographic entities, their locations, and spatial relations. However, this information is not sufficiently accessible today to blind and visually impaired people. To provide a nonvisual access to map information, we developed an interactive auditory city map, which uses 3D nonspeech sound to convey the position, shape, and type of geographic objects. For the interactive exploration of the auditory map, we designed a virtual walk-through. This allows the user to gain an overview of an area. To be able to focus on certain regions of the map, we equip the user with an auditory torch. With the auditory torch users can change the number of displayed objects in a self directed way. To further aid in getting a global idea of the displayed area we additionally introduce a birds eye view on the auditory map. Our evaluation shows that our approaches enable the user to gain an understanding of the explored environment.
01 / 2007
ACM Press
Enhanced Network Accessibility for the Blind and Visually Impaired (only available in german)
ACM Press