People with vision have instant access to a smorgasbord of digital maps – including maps embedded into websites for navigation purposes and maps used in the classroom for educational purposes. Maps often represent the real world in small, easy-to-digest pieces. Maps can help users travel from one location to another, enable users to explore and learn about an area from the safety of their home, can organize information and can provide data to be analyzed. Maps are often used to build concepts such as mental mapping, spatial relationships, and other critical orientation-related skills. Non-visual digital maps are fully accessible maps that are being used by students for O&M purposes and for educational purposes in mainstream classrooms. Please help us grow the Map Library by sharing your maps!
These virtual maps are created in Google My Maps. Students with visual impairments or blindness can convert them to non-visual digital maps using SAS Graphics Accelerator, a free extension for Google Chrome. Note: You must use the Google Chrome web browser and must install the SAS Graphics Accelerator extension. SAS Graphics Accelerator can be installed and is fully accessible on Windows and Mac computers. The extension can also be installed on Chromebooks; however, it has not been extensively tested with Chromebooks. The SAS Graphics Accelerator is currently NOT available for iOS devices.
Install SAS Graphics Accelerator for Google Chrome.
Once you have installed the SAS Graphics Accelerator extension, select the desired map from the list below. This will open the visual Google map; in the bottom right corner of the Google map, select the Accelerate button. This will open the accessible non-visual digital map.
NOTE: If you do not have the SAS Graphics Accelerator installed, you will be redirected to the page to install the software. If you choose not to install the accelerator, you can still open the visual, non-accessible Google Map. Remember, you must use the Google Chrome web browser!
The SAS Graphics Accelerator maps are non-visual meaning that they will not visually look like the traditional Google Map; these maps are designed to be explored using non-visual methods.
Is it possible to edit a map found in the Map Library? Absolutely! In order to customize (edit) a map, you must make a copy of the map.
When you make a copy of the map, the map will appear under the “Owned” tab in your mymaps.google.com. Note: When you open a map from the Map Library, the map is under the “Not Owned” tab and cannot be edited. For details and a video tutorial, go to Editing a Non-Visual Digital Map From the Map Library post.
While any map can be used for O&M purposes, the maps in this section were created specifically for O&M purposes. Many of these maps have associated O&M blog posts.
College campuses tend to be challenging, complex environments with few streets and numerous internal sidewalks. Students transitioning to college often need significant time to learn their college campus. These college campus maps were created to help students learn what is on campus and to develop a strong mental map of campus – and can be used remotely before physically walking on campus. A big thanks to SAS Summer 2020 Interns for creating many of the university campus maps! Note: The majority of these university maps have hundreds of data points – which can be initially overwhelming. Before creating and/or introducing a complex map, start with an smaller map that provides an overview or start with a smaller map of one section. Build a foundation before introducing a complex campus map! See Creating Customized Non-Visual Digital College Campus Maps post for details.
Post: Build a Mental Map of Campus (Your school for the blind)
General Guidelines for Creating Non-Visual Digital Maps of K12 Schools, Camps and Parks post
A huge thank you to the SAS 2021 summer interns for adding 40+ Metro Maps! These maps are designed for college students and/or young professionals who are traveling to new cities for work, pleasure or school. The goal is to learn about points of interest around the cities and to develop a mental map of where these areas are in relationship to one another. K12 students who live in or near these cities or who are traveling to these cities will also enjoy these metro maps. For more information, see the Creating Non-Visual Digital Maps of Metropolitan Areas post.
Build geography skills and gain a broader sense of the world with these maps! A big thanks to the 2022 SAS Interns who have created 35+ country maps. These maps are designed for students and adults who are studying different countries, building global awareness, and/ or who are planning on traveling to these countries.