Best practice guidelines for the design, production and presentation of vacuum formed tactile maps

Underlay, overlay and binding

The provision of a printed underlay with a transparent tactile map allows it to be used by sighted and visually impaired people on an equal footing. The base map can be used as an outline for a printed underlay, and large print labels can be included if needed (see Figure 19).

Underlay production is speeded up if the base map design is produced using computer software, but it is possible to obtain satisfactory results using manual methods. The underlay should be encapsulated in PVC film, to give it durability, and bound with the map and key so that the sheets register exactly. Many users prefer back to back binding of map and key. A separate brailled label sheet, bound as an optional overlay, can be a useful addition to some maps (see Figure 20).

Ring binding enables a map and its associated sheets to be used like a book; more manageable than holding them separately (see Figure 21).