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About HaptoRender

HaptoRender is planned to be a renderer that uses OSM data to create tactile maps for blind and visually impaired persons.

HaptoRender will have several advantages compared with commercial tactile maps:

  • Maps can be created for any village in the world - not only for city centers of interest for tourists
  • Maps can be created from current geodata, not only one edition in many years
  • Maps can vary, it is possible to create maps with additional contrasts for visually impaired persons
  • Maps are cheaper, because there will not be any license cost for the map data.
  • If one part of a map is obsolete, the part can be reproduced.

The HaptoRender project was started in April 2009 by Lulu-Ann.

Thanks to Bahnpirat and other members of Hannover Stammtisch for contribution.


Already produced maps

Reinhard-Niether-Krankenhaus in Wilhelmshaven, Germany

Rnk-kupfer.jpg HaptoRender Delmenhorst.jpg

Copper map:

This is the first known tactile map based on OSM data published on May 12, 2009. It is a copper sheet with the size of an DIN A4 paper sheet. This was shown (and touched) at the SOTM 2009 in Amsterdam. Contact Bahnpirat for more details on this.

Wollepark in Delmenhorst, Germany

Plastics map:

This is the next step, a 3D printing also by User:Bahnpirat.

Want to contribute?

If you want to contribute to the project please subscribe to the mailing list. Please inform your visually impaired friends and invite them to join!


HaptoRender Project Status

There are already two different ideas how to create tactile maps from OSM data.


  • Size and scale of map tiles are planned.
  • Needed file format is known (99%).
  • First map files are created. Improvement needed.
  • 3D Printer for prototyping is available thanks to Stratum0
  • Braille true type font with surely usable license is now available.
  • Map style for few objects is fixed.


  • First map is created!


Current to dos

  • We are looking for a braille .ttf (True Type Font) that complies with CC-BY-SA license. Who can help?
    • For latin letters: I helped myself. I was sick of the non compatible licenses and made my own braille true type font. Download here.
    • Found Braille.dxf
  • Font needs to be replaced by braille. (OK for Latin, java library liblouis should do for all languages)
  • Rules shall be created.
  • An example legend exists.
  • Patterns/ textures need to be created for areas (forest, water etc.)
  • Symbols are needed for bus stops etc.
  • An additional sheet with the legend needs to be planned.
  • An legend must be created with all symbols
  • A street list needs to be generated for each created tactile map

General requirements

  • HaptoRender will not use abbreviated braille, but full braille writing (de:Blindenbasisschrift statt Blindenkurzschrift oder Blindenvollschrift).

What is in the map

A tactile map has a larger scale (1:1000) and shows less details than a visual map, but adds some tags that are of special interest for blind people.

Rendered in HaptoRender

This part has been moved to HaptoRender/Rendering_Rules

All features displayed on the visual map of features for the blind: blindmap.

Not in the map will be

Group Tag Value Appearance Remarks


Group Tag Value Appearance Remarks


The physical production of a tactile map usually causes costs. Before the HaptoRender can create a tactile map creation file of high quality, the desired area shall be checked for

  • completeness
  • common tagging mistakes
  • unknown tags
  • density of worthfull tags
  • tags that are known to cause troubles (to be defined)

Therefore a HaptoRenderPreCheck shall be created.

Ordering a map

If you want to be one of the first to order a tactile map from HaptoRender for yourself or as a present, please leave your Nickname and desired center coordinates here. Note: A tactile map tile from HaptoRender is planned to be for a 200m x 200m area, which is 20cm x 20cm in mapscale.

This is not an order, just a poll for interest!

User's Signature Location Country for delivery No interest if it costs more than ... EUR tactile map or file only Remarks
--Lulu-Ann 12:38, 23 April 2009 (UTC) lat=52.36363&lon=9.80641 Germany 100 tactile map Example
--Jonás Andradas 12:04, 22 June 2009 (UTC) lat=40.416812&lon=-3.705007 Spain 85 tactile map Use as sample, with interest in showing it to ONCE (Spanish National Blind-people Organization)Jonás Andradas
Organization's building is not yet mapped  ?! --Lulu-Ann 08:15, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
--Central America 11:26, 24 September 2009 (UTC) lat=55.929858&lon=-3.173454 Royal Blind School, Edinburgh, Scotland 100 tactile map This area may be used as an example for the Royal Blind Press
Poorly mapped --Lulu-Ann 12:06, 24 September 2009 (UTC)
--Guttorm Flatabø 08:59, 29 February 2012 (UTC) lat=61.15584&lon=7.13588 Sogndal lufthamn, Haukåsen, Sogndal, Norway 80 tactile map Example --Dittaeva 09:09, 29 February 2012 (UTC)


These devices might be suitabel to create tactile maps from OSM:

for paper

for plastic or rubber

  • Machines that can laser rubber stamps
  • Rapid prototyping machine with powder printing method
  • plastic extrusion rapid-prototyping machine (e.g. RepRap, UP! 3d Printer)

for plastic, wood or metal

  • CNC machine (different file format!)
  • waterjet (takes dxf gnerally)

for stone

  • Waterjet

Contributors and Sponsors

Thanks to http://www.caretec.at for sending some special paper for the Piaf Schwellkopierer.

Side effects: Tattoos

You could use a HaptoRender Map for making a temporary tattoo. Don't forget to request a mirrored with printed letters instead of braille writing map!

HaptoRender in the Media

See also

  • [2] Historic map from 1837

Similar offer without OpenStreetMap