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

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Fascinating proposal

Craig Allan This idea is not new.

See and tactile-map-automated-production

See also Journal Article

Be aware of patent restrictions or similar intellectual property problems that may arise.

  • In short - than you for this info! Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:19, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
  • I am not a lawyer, but idea of making tactile maps is quite old so it should not be a problem. I expect (and hope) that adding "automatically, using a computer" is not making it patentable or protected in some similar way. Please correct me if I am wrong (note that someone filing a patent is not indicator of anything, many filed patents are completely invalid). Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:19, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
    • Sadly law and justice have nothing to do with it. American companies will sue you without any viable claim just to scare you off their turf. To pay an American lawyer just to say 'send me details of your claim' would cost you a several months of salary. (talk) 19:25, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
      • AFAIK patent law is not completely broken, but how trials work in USA is mostly broken (ridiculously expensive typically often not refunded even in cases of strategic abuse of trials, like lawsuits intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense) or patent trolls mentioned here. But I am unlikely to be a victim of a patent troll, as going by USA standards my total assets are low. Therefore I am very poor target for patent troll lawsuits and it gets combined by jurisdiction mess. I am located in Poland with basically no assets in USA juridistriction. I am not sure about exact implications, but it raises costs and complexity for a patent troll. They would spend more than they can recover, seizing anything more than 20$ in my PayPal account and basically worthless domain would AFAIK be quite complex process requiring going with some legal process in EU. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:36, 16 May 2020 (UTC)
  • Thanks for linking TMAP! Before starting this project I was looking for similar ones (to reuse rather than start from scratch). I have found one similar that sadly was not usable but I somehow failed to find TMAP. I will try to track down whatever TMAP is active. And whatever any of their work is available or is it fully closed source. I already found info that they are using OpenStreetMap data (without attribution on map itself), but it is mentioned in some pdf. Maybe I was searching specifically for OSM-related tactile map work and that is why I failed this OSM to tactile map project? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:19, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
    • Main difference between TMAP and this project is that laser-cut plywood that I plan to use is trickier to produce and requires more complicated processing, but is more accessible than embossed paper. Primary difference is that laser-cut tactile map is allowing much larger height differences between elements. This in turn allows to use stronger textures and other tools making maps easier to use. Laser cut tactile map is also allowing to use mix of elements, for example wood for land and plexiglass that is drastically different in touch for water areas. It makes it easier to use it for people inexperienced in use of tactile materials, for example children Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:19, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
    • I will investigate TMAP work, and mention it to teachers working in a school - maybe it would be also useful for them (though potential buying it would be obviously unrelated to this grant) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:19, 15 May 2020 (UTC)
      • Another similar project is Touch Mapper ( It's OSM-based and open source, and you can order maps online or download the stl and print/emboss them yourself. My local organization for the blind promotes it a bit as well. Not sure if it's compatible with what you plan for your project, but I wanted to mention it in case it's possible to work together. :) --Tordanik 15:40, 17 May 2020 (UTC)
        • Sadly, Touch Mapper requires some customization. And its usage run into some problems - for example with sadly complex setup. I tried modifying it, but it turned out to be worse than writing a new one - especially as some stupid bug can cause runaway AWS bill (there is no way to limit runaway costs due to bug or DDOS for AWS). I plan to make this one more customizable and running locally to avoid the same problems for others. Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 16:52, 17 May 2020 (UTC)