The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille in New Delhi. This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of S&T. It is world’s first braille atlas for the visually impaired.
- In the Braille Atlas, maps are raised and embossed with simple point and lines symbols to facilitate users to realize the location and area coverage easily in terms of distinguishable shapes and textures.
- The legend and reference is also placed on map in Braille script to navigate map. About 20 maps on different themes of physical, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the country have been incorporated in it.
- The Atlas will be distributed free of cost to various schools across the country for educating the students with visual challenges.
- It was awarded National award for S&T intervention in empowering the physically challenged by the Prime Minister in January, 2017 at the Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.
About National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO)
- NATMO is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of S&T, Union Ministry of Science & Technology.
- It is engaged in preparing different atlases, thematic maps and other documents on block level, district, state, national and many other monograms.
- Its thematic maps and data are used by the decision makers at districts and sub-divisions levels for implementing the developmental schemes as well as by the researchers, students and common people.
- NATMO has also prepared Braille maps for West Bengal and Meghalaya in Bengali and English respectively. They have also been asked by the governments of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Gujarat to come up with state maps in English and their regional languages.
- The concept of Braille maps took root in the country in 1900s and the first such map was made in 1997.