Re: a thought experiment about graphics

Date: Sun Jul 11 1999 - 20:43:38 PDT


Although I tend to lean in Harold's direction on this, I recognize
that my personal limitations may not be shared by others. I don't
know what your end goal is here, but it strikes me that it would take
a good deal of work to extract the information that you are requesting
here. Although I find your organization of graphical information into
layers to be a sound one, it is hard for me to conceive of a mechanism
to do it efficiently.

Guys, maybe I'm just a little cranky tonight, it has been a long day.
I think, though, that there is much to be said about the learning
curve that is involved for many of us to maximize our potential when
it comes to absorbing graphical information. One thing that I find
frustrating is that I see very little increase in the production of
materials that would assist with this process. What I mean here is
not so much training materials as materials that could be used for
practical advantage. For example, it would have been very useful to
have some sort of rough map of the three levels of our convention
hotel that contain meeting rooms. In fact, this would be useful for
next year as well. As far as I know, there are no maps that provide
any more detail about the United States that are generally available
than those maps created by Howe Press and by the Illinois Braille and
Sight Saving School some fifty years ago. I personally find some
shortcomings in the American Printing House Atlas, but it is a good
effort. It is important that we look for solutions to the problems
associated with reading EKG's and that we also explore some of the
points you raise, but somehow practical uses of graphics and maps have
to find their way into our everyday lives as well.

There is a lot of work that our R&D Committee does of which I am not
aware. Therefore, my comments are not meant to be a criticism of our
committee. Rather, my comments arise from my personal frustration
with the apparent gap between modern thought and technology and the
average or even the somewhat graphical oriented blind person on the
street. I hope a way can be found to fill this gap to some degree.
We need to see more information in a graphical form to better
understand what is useful or practical.

On Sat, 10 Jul 1999 17:55:37 -0700 (PDT), Harold Snider wrote:

>Dear John,
>I think you are asking the impossible! I believe that really
complicated visual
>images such as photos of "people playing volleyball on the beach" are
>replicable in a tactile format. The detail is simply far too
complicated to be
>useful. I think we need to get "real" about what is and what is not
>within the realm of current technology and future technological
development. I
>think that this process is particularly difficult for those of us who
have never
>been able to see and thus have no visual memory. Personally, I have
>reading anthing more than a bar graph or a very simple map. For
some of us
>there is really a huge learning curve that goes right along with the
problem of
>producing the raised image.
>Harold Snider
>John Miller wrote:
>> Hello,
>> Robert Jaquiss and Curtis Chong created raised-line drawings
>> using the Phaser 600 and the tactile image enhancer of research
>> presented to me
>> by my colleagues. They modified the graphs in no way at all, and
>> raised up what they got.
>> The tactile image enhancer resolution was just too low for the task
at hand.
>> Although the phaser 600 results were promising, folks had feedback
>> at the NFB convention for how they could be made more legible.
>> I tell you, though, that if I have to do a half hour prep per
>> force my colleagues to print graphs without grid lines and so-on,
or have
>> an assistant spend 30 minutes
>> cutting and painting braille fonts per graph, I'm better off asking
>> colleague what he drew
>> or having my assistant free hand a raised-line drawing.
>> So to the thought experiment.
>> If an author wanted to include in a text document some bit-mapped
>> and accompanying raised-line drawing information, say, in a
>> tactile graphics standard format, what would the author's content
be for
>> the standard?
>> The first thing I would like to know if you handed me a 100 page
>> with some graphs in it
>> is the location of the graphs.
>> How tall and how wide is each graphic? On which page is it?
>> Within the format of each graphic, I would like the text labels in
an overlay
>> separable from the graphic itself.
>> I should be able to make a tactile image minus any confusing text
>> If grid lines are present, I should have the option to suppress
>> The overlay should include characteristics that distinguish
different lines:
>> if they are dotted, made with stars, red, green, or whatever.
>> Of course, along with the text in the overlay would be its x-y
>> I hsitate to suggest a field that includes the mathematical
function of the
>> thing drawn,
>> but sometimes when you go from the image of y = x^2 and thru all
>> resizing and resolution issues,
>> just telling the machine the analytical expression will generate
the best
>> results.
>> Last of all, a notes field, where the author might add
>> "This is a picture of about a thousand folks playing volleyball on
the beach.
>> Business as usual in San Diego".
>> I'd like to open it up and ask all of you what you think
>> a tactile image standard would need so that SW could generate
>> files ready for braille where the results would make you happy more
>> than sad.
>> Cheers,
>> John
>> *******************************************************************
>> * John Miller *
>> * CMRR-0401 *
>> * University of California, San Diego *
>> * 9500 Gilman Drive *
>> * La Jolla, CA 92093-0401 *
>> * *
>> * phone: (619) 822-2326 *
>> * fax (619) 534-2720 *
>> * email: *
>> *******************************************************************

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