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


Appendix 1: Sample interpretation guide

How to read the raised plan of St Lawrence’s Church, Frodsham

The church plan and key are fixed together in a four page booklet. The first page is the raised plan of the church, the second page is a printed copy of the plan, which can be seen through the first page and is there to help people with some sight. On the reverse side of this sheet is a printed version of the key to the plan. The third page is the raised key; back to back with the first two pages. The last page is a brailled label sheet, which can be turned to the front to help you to identify the different parts of the church.

To find out about the church layout, turn the booklet so that the binding strip is on the left, and the raised plan is on the top sheet. Along the top of the first page is the title in braille.

Run your hands round the edge of the page to find out how big it is and then feel all over it to discover the overall shape of the church. Feel the outline of the building. It is rectangular with smaller rectangular extensions on the right and left ends. At the left end, a recessed section extends towards the binding strip. You can also feel several prominent bumps in the middle of the page. Take time to feel round all the different parts to get an idea of the shape and layout, and to discover different points of reference. These will be explained in due course.

Now we will look at the plan in more detail. All the left and right directions relate to the way the map is in front of you. North is to the top of the page, South to the edge nearest to you, East is to your right and West to your left. The way into the church is through the South door. You can find this just to the left of the centre of the page, along the edge nearest to you. The two walls of the porch jut out towards you, and you can fit your finger between them. The distance between the outside edges of the porch walls is 4 metres. That measurement might help you to get an idea of the size of the church.

The thick square section lines represent the walls of the church. Starting from the right of the South porch, trace the outline of the building. You will find short raised lines on top of the of the walls. These are the windows.

Jutting outwards from the walls are several square buttresses. Just after the first buttress on the South side there is a small door into the church, which is rarely used. You should be able to feel a gap in the walls at this point. Carry on round the walls until you reach the North porch, opposite to the South door. As you feel down the left end of the church you come to the outline of the tower, and the recessed section which is the underground tower vestry. We will explore this section in more detail later. After the tower it is only a short distance back to the South porch.

Now to explore the inside of the church. As you trace the way in through the South door you will feel slightly raised strip that goes to the North door. This symbol shows the line of the carpeted aisles.

Back to the south door. In the south west corner of the church is the font, which you can feel to the left of the carpet strip just after the door way into the church. To the right, almost immediately after the font, the South Aisle carpet leads you to a gap in a wooden screen. A square section strip, smaller than the walls, is used for the screens.

Go through the gap in the screen into the Lady Chapel and continue in the same direction. There is a step up level with the small outside door in the South wall, and two more steps up before you reach the end wall and window on the right. There is no altar in this chapel. There is another screen along the north side of the Lady Chapel with a door though into the Chancel. Go through this door.

Now you are in the Chancel turn right and find the two steps up to the rectangular altar in the Sanctuary, beside the right end wall and window. The Sanctuary is the extension on the East end of the church. Now trace your way to the left from the altar, down three steps in the Chancel. Along the north and south sides of the chancel, just below the third step, are the choir stalls. These are slightly raised rectangular blocks. At the left end of the choir stalls is a fourth step down on to the centre aisle carpet in the Nave.

The central altar that is used for most services is very close to the fourth step. Continue to the left, along the centre aisle carpet, until you find the carpet running from the South to North doors again. Trace the way toward the North door until you feel the carpet down the North Aisle running off to your right. This strip ends at the door in the screen leading to the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. There is an altar in the middle of this chapel. A solid screen divides this chapel from the vestry in the north eastern corner of the church.

Between the vestry and the Chancel is the organ, three small rings in a row. At the left end of the organ is a door from the vestry to the Chancel. On the left of this door is pillar, a square block. It is joined to another pillar to its left by a screen behind the choir stalls. Just at the bottom left corner of this second pillar is the pulpit, a slightly pointed round symbol.

In line with the two pillars you have already found are another three pillars that divide the Nave from the North Aisle. The first is very close to the pulpit. A similar line of pillars divides the Chancel and Nave from the Lady Chapel and South Aisle.

Find the carpet running down the centre aisle in the Nave and trace it to the left. When it runs out, carry on in the same direction, towards the binding edge, until you reach another door in a screen. This is the door into the ground floor of the tower. Keep going the same way until you feel the first of four ridges. At this point if you feel towards you should find a large ridged circular symbol. This shows where the circular stairs lead up to the top of the tower and the bell chamber.

Continue down the four ridges that indicate the stairs down to the Tower Vestry. At the bottom of the stairs there is a small arrow towards the top of the page to show the Men’s Toilets and a small cross towards the bottom of the page to show the Women’s Toilets. To the left of the toilets a recessed square is found. This is the tower vestry. There is an emergency exit in the bottom left corner shown by a small v-shaped cut-out. If you now retrace your way up the stairs, through the door in the screen you will soon find the carpet running between the north and south doors.

You have now explored all the church plan. If you would like some idea of how high the tower is you can measure the distance between the top of the stairs to the Tower Vestry and the step up into the chancel from the nave, just by the central altar. This distance is sixty three metres. The same measurement as the height of the tower.

The key on the third page, shows all the symbols used on the plan and they are arranged in the same order as you have visited them in this guide. The symbols are lined up down the left side of the page, and their braille labels are to the right of them.

Here is a list of the symbols as they appear in the key:

The fourth and last sheet has Braille labels for each part of the church. If you turn this page to the left to lie on top of the plan you can feel the labels for most of the church without turning the book round. The labels for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Vestry and Sanctuary can be read by turning the book so that the binding is away from you.

Appendix 2 Sources for Materials in UK

Technology Supplies Ltd
Phoenix House
Tern Hill
Market Drayton

Clear PVC and APET 0.250mm, 0.500mm, 0.750mm


Renolit(UK) Ltd
Renolit House
Hammond Road
Elms Farm Industrial Estate
MK41 0UD

Opaque PVC in a wide range of colours and thicknesses