Czech Republic-based internet firm has launched new Haptic mapping technology in the UK, which can be used by visually impaired travellers.

The company said that its Haptic Maps will open doors to a world of travel, previously limited for the blind and visually impaired.

Once printed on microcapsule paper, ordinary foundation maps are converted to be easily read through touch.

Featuring tactile map technology, the new Haptic Maps will use a specific map key that generates black and white maps, when printed on special paper using a fuser and results in swelling, which allows readability through touch.

"Haptic Maps will unlock a world of travel, previously limited for the blind and visually impaired."

As part of the tactile maps project, the company has collaborated with two universities, Teiresias Centre at Masaryk University in Brno and The Elsa Centre at Czech Technical University in Prague. general manager Pavel Zima said: "Over the last ten years, we have closely monitored the accessibility of our web services and have worked with various organisations to highlight any areas where our services could be improved.

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"Tourism and mapping for the visually impaired was a key area of concern and I believe that our new Haptic Maps will provide a simple and practical solution for our consumers, opening up a new aspect of tourism to our beautiful country."

The company, which offers full text search, news services and map servers, provided the map data and designed the technology, while the university departments developed the maps, including the map key, density and placement of various elements.