Microgrants/Microgrants 2020/Proposal/Tactile maps for blind or visually impaired children

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Tactile maps for blind or visually impaired children
Inspire other and promote OpenStreetMap by making map that will be used by blind children. Maps will be donated to school for blind children and used during lesson teaching how to move through a city.
end-date2021-05-01 (extended due to COVID interruptions)
budget (Euro)1630 €
location(s)Kraków, Poland

Feedback request

Any and all feedback is useful, from cosmetic suggestions, through "this is stupidest idea ever, please go away, this is so stupid because (...)" to "this part is unclear what you mean by it?". Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 22:54, 10 May 2020 (UTC)

About your Mapping Community

Tell us a little bit about your mapping community at the moment, some examples of details to include are below, but please provide us with any information you think is relevant. Please write 100-200 words There is an active mapping community in Kraków and in Poland. It is clearly above average on a global scale, mapping of road is and major objects is basically compleye. But it is still very small compared to what is possible - for example only small part of all shops is mapped, and there is not enough mappers to achieve that.

Recruitment of mappers is limited by many complicated factors, many unclear or unknown to me. But two among primary reasons are that people are unaware about OpenStreetMap or see no clear beneficial effects that will happen thanks to their contributions.

I hope to change it a bit with my project.

What do you need the grant money for?

Example location that will be covered by a tactile map. Note that just this crossing includes double carriageway, tram tracks and bicycle crossing combined with pedestrian crossing. Tactile map would be useful as the first step, making easier to describe and explain geometry and topology of this location.
another view of different part of the same crossing
The same crossing also includes unmarked steps

We want to understand what you plan to buy, how much you plan to buy, and why this will help you to scale your community mapping efforts. There are two tables for you to fill in your response, and you may add more rows as needed. Some examples are in the table for your reference. You are welcome to use a different format in your response, but please make sure to include these details.

I have a plan to promote OpenStreetMap and demonstrate its usefulness by making an interesting project.

I will make a tactile map for blind children, that will be delivered to school for blind or visually impaired in Kraków, Poland ( https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/548913103#map=18/50.05127/19.92543 ).

I will also document this project making and distributing materials that will promote OpenStreetMap.

I will also share, document and release tools that I will use allowing others to repeat it elsewhere, without starting from scratch.

Nearly all work will be put into design, creation, testing and verification of tools that will be used by others. And as an additional byproduct school for blind children will receive teaching aids that will be verys useful for them.

I think that it has a decent chance to help signifcantly promote OpenStreetMap, it can be repeated by others using tools that I will assemble, publish and document.

This project will show how open access to map data allows to use them in „creative, productive, or unexpected ways”.

Tactile map

Produce a tactile map for school of a blind children, with design topic and content that will be clearly useful.

Many materials owned by this school are useless and unused - due to multiple reasons not relevant here. Unlike this often problematic materials, my map will be made in coordination with teacher(s) working there and match what is actually needed.

According to my consultations with teacher(s) working there the most useful map is depiction of school surrounding - especially geometry and structure of nearby streets.

Blind children are learning there how to safely and efficiently navigate across city on their own.

Tactile map of their training areas allows to provide safer and and more efficient beginning, as it makes easier to show topology and structure of roads, footways, sidewalks, crossings etc.

The plan is to create tactile maps using OpenStretMapData. Maps will be made using varied shape and textures and possibly other techniques (highly contrasting colors - useful for people nearly but not completely blind, different materials).

Maps will be produced using CNC machines / laser cutters / 3D printing at level that is affordable and accessible to a typical people, making this work replicable by others.

OpenStreetMap data appears to be a good match here, and is likely to be replicable in other well mapped areas.

Tactile maps that will be donated to the school for their use.

Enable others to produce similar tactile maps

All repeatable parts of map production will be done by a generic software that I will also develop. I will use uxisting tool and libraries and create script allowing to easier do various steps of map generaton.

Software used to produce this materials will be published, documented and supported and I will help others trying to use it.

Promotional materials production

Photos and text in Polish and English that can be used as promotional material, North in long form (suitable for a blog post) and short (suitable for a Twitter/FB post). Licensed CC0, available for use for example on the OSMF blog.

I may need to pay for at least some high quality photos of produced work, in quality higher than a smartphone image. But I hope that I will be able to get help from a friend.

This project may be a good example of how OpenStreetMap differs from for example Google Maps, as it will involve both

  • mapping some things, likely to include objects not present in car oriented maps (note that mapping paid is not paid or funded - but it will be done and described in any publicity materials)
  • taking raw data (impossible with Google Maps and similar projects) and using it to produce something new
    • in addition, thanks to both program and data being open others will be able to reproduce it elsewhere

Additional info

I already worked on this and I already - had multiple meeting with teacher at school for blind children Kraków - made multiple round of producing prototypes of elements and map design reviewed by teacher who will use them for lessons.

I paused project due to larger than expected costs, both direct ones (laser cutter, plywood) and time necessary to properly develop it. According to my log I already spend over 70 hours working on it, and it started being problematic to justify it as a hobby project. In case of this grant proposal being accepted it would still be a financial loss for me, but one that can be justfied.

I have experience with such projects, I produced and completed some map based projects that used laser cutter including

  • several laser-cut decoration maps, including large scale ones (30 cm x 50 cm)
  • custom-made map puzzle with specially designed pieces (train shaped puzzle piece for map part with train station, dragon shaped puzzle pieces where according to a legend dragon once lived)
  • elements for train set model

Budget breakdown

Give your budget breakdown here. If you would like to present your budget in a tabular format, you can use this tool to convert your spreadsheet into a wikitable and paste the code below here

what cost
Necessary mapping (about 5 to 50 hours) 0€ (I do it as a hobby and OSMF should not encourage paid mapping)
5 months of access to lower grade laser cutter, CNC machine, 3D printers in a local hackerspace 0€ (I am already paying for this access anyway)
time for design, coding, describing how to use code, prototyping and preparing various materials promised in the earlier section (at rate matching minimum wage in Poland, includes taxes that I would need to pay in such case) at 7€/h for 150h 1050€
using small laser cutter for prototyping - necessary to test a written code, 100 runs on A4 plywood 100€
buying additional materials to test more varied materials (including but not limited to plexiglass, paints, special plywood) 50€
production costs of full scale tactile maps, including initial run that will likely to reveal some problem using rented large scale laser cutter (possibly switched to CNC machine or 3D printer) - 40€/piece 240€
production time (monitoring production, assembly, manual sanding, assembling, cleaning, transporting) at 7€/h 140€
costs of renting a proper camera (smartphone is not good enough to take good photos of such projects), I will try to get help from some friends and spend this part on one of goals listed above 50€
Total 1630€

Note that the most expensive part of project can be mostly avoided by other that will try to replicate this project and make something similar.

Note, I put some funding to cover time spent on working on it, but as it is on level of minimum wage in Poland it would still mean that this project would result in a noticeable financial loss for me. But it would reduce it to level acceptable to me, allowing me to complete it.

If you receive a grant, what do you aim to achieve?

It is recommended that this supports mission of the OSM Foundation and your local community. Please provide us with any information you think is relevant including the metrics you expect to achieve. Please write 100-200 words. Create software tool that can allow to automate generation of materials for creation of tactile maps useful for blind or visually impaired people.

It will be sufficiently well documented and designed so that others will be able to use it to make maps.

Tactile maps useful as teaching aid for blind/visually impaired children will be donated to a local school for blind or visually impaired children and used there.

In addition I will produce, publish and distribute materials showing this tactile map, how OpenStreetMap allowed this to happen and how one may produce their own, for people needing it in their area.

Do you receive funding from any other sources at the moment?

If you receive funding from other organisations currently, please state how much this is, whether the donations are regular or one off, and how these funds have been raised. Please write no more than 300 words. If you have any sources of co-funding for this grant application, please provide details. Examples of this might be if you have any partners who would be willing to match grant funding if you receive it, or if your project has existing funding. Please provide as much detail as possible. I am not receiving any money whatsoever for this project, and I never received. So far all costs were self-funded.

(I assume that in case of individual applying for a grant it is not necessary to list sources of my income?).

Is there anything you would like OSMF to support you with?

If there is anything which you would like OSMF to support you with in order to strengthen your project, please let us know. For example, this could include building relationships with OSM communities, sourcing updated imagery for mapping projects, or guidance on how to use some of the tools we have created. We want to do our best to support OSM communities, so please let us know what you need. Please write no more than 150 words.

Many people are unaware about OpenStreetMap. This is happening despite they use maps build from OpenStreetMap data and ODBL requires attribution clearly visible to users.

See https://github.com/matkoniecz/illegal-use-of-OpenStreetMap#openstreetmap for more detail

I know that there is a stalled work on the atrtribution guideline but not attributing OpenSTreetMpa or burying it in place where no normal user will spot is a clear violation of OSM license.

OSMF should for start

  • send an official request to for example Moovit, Mapbox and MAPS.ME reminiding that properly attributing OSM (as required by ODBL) is not optional (I know that it is partially in progress)
  • publish a blog post/twitter post/etc complaining about blatant license violations by such entities

I was told by tourists that OpenStreetMap sounds interesting, but it is a duplicate of MAPS.ME that already has amazing map data. We should not be in such situation.


By submitting this form to the OpenStreetMap Foundation, you certify the information contained in this application is correct, and that if you are awarded a grant, you will use it only for the purposes described above. You will provide written documentation and receipts for all of your expenses to the OSM Foundation to demonstrate this. You understand that the decisions made by the OSM Foundation Microgrants committee are final.

I, Mateusz Konieczny (full name) ]Mateusz Konieczny (username)] agree to follow the above declaration.


Community members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!

Laser cut map for use as a decoration made by User:Mateusz Konieczny, produced using OSM data. The same production method can be used to make a custom maps for blind people.
But additional customization is required to make it accessible by touch. It includes wider lines to make it clearly recognizable by touch. And lower amount of detail as this map is optimized for sight that has significantly higher resolution than touch.
Use of textures, location info written in braille etc may in turn allow to add more information. To customize it and make it actually usable it is necessary to meet with people who will be using them.

Westnordost (talk):

Mateusz received an OpenStreetMap related grant before which he used to advance the development of StreetComplete in some big leaps. As the maintainer of StreetComplete, I can say that am highly satisfied with the quality and the diligence of the work he committed to do on the app. As a matter of fact, I visited Mateusz a few months ago and I am witness to the stunning results he accomplished so far with zero budget and the on-a-shoestring setup they have at the Hackerspace Kraków
I think to bring this technology to this purpose is a great idea, both as an advertisment for the local OSM community to gain new interested community members but also of course to actually give the visually impaired the tools and means to help and be helped in their situation. Having seen what he accomplished so far, I have no doubt that he can pull it off, and given the fact that he has spent a good amount of time on this already, unpaid on his own account, it's a very cheap as most costs have already been carried by him.
  • I endorse this proposal. – Craig Allan This does not exactly align with OSM development, but it is an interesting 'cutting edge' development for map users generally.
  • eda_n: I endorse this project request Very interesting and useful idea, thank you for this work --Eda n (talk) 22:05, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I fully endorse this project request. Seems to be a great idea. Rmikke (talk) 23:08, 15 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. – Gislars (talk) 07:30, 20 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I endorse this proposal. – Ajank (talk) 19:43, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I fully endorse this project request. Cristoffs