New map offers the blind a view of Prague
Prague is renowned as one of the most beautiful and striking cities in Europe, but for those who are blind such beauty is more difficult to appreciate. Now however, a new project offers further possibilities for the visually impaired to experience the city. A map for the blind, launched this week and covering the entirety of the Czech capital's historical centre, has been produced by Prague City Hall in conjunction with blind people's groups. The map is merely the first in a collection that will be completed by the end of 2007, potentially helping blind people find their way round the whole of the city.
None of this would have been possible without the map's author, Radka Fuxova:
"I started to make this map after my final thesis at university. I was studying geo-cartography in Brno and then I received my final thesis in cartography, making maps for the blind. So then I started to work with blind people I made my first map, I saw how blind people are interested in this map and so I continued to make it and it really helps them."
Other detailed maps of the city currently in preparation are to cover Prague Castle, Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square and the Central Station Area, and are on schedule to be released at the end of the year. In total there will be fourteen maps in the series.
Similarly, the City Hall's maps for the blind are far from a one-off. Though the series is the first of its kind in Prague, it is not the first in the Czech Republic, and is part of an ongoing project to make European cities more accessible to the blind. Radka Fuxova again:
"I have made maps for Opava and for Brno, now I'm making maps for Prague. For sure Ostrava is interested and other cities, because if they heard that I made these maps they really want these maps too, because they know that it is good for them, for blind people. Now I'm working in Stovarga in Norway, so now I would like to offer these maps to Norway."
The maps are soon to be made available in schools, information centres and libraries throughout the city.