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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NEWS SERVICES
210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
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Not for publication

May 30, 2002 -- No. 299

Computer science team develops technology
to translate maps for the visually impaired Technology demonstration:

Friday (May 31), 11 a.m.

5010 Davis Library (the Ancient World Mapping Center)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A team of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill computer science students, with the assistance of several UNC faculty members representing the Ancient World Mapping Center and department of computer science, have developed tactile-audio technology to translate maps for those with visual impairment.

This effort began in an undergraduate computer science course led by Dr. Kye Hedlund, as a project to help enable Jason Morris, a graduate student who is blind and works in the Ancient World Mapping Center, to work with research-quality historical geographic data created by the center. If not for this technology, said center director Tom Elliott, this data would be inaccessible to him.

The student team hopes to eventually adapt the technology to work with other types of maps and plans related to classroom and research needs, including campus-map data.

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Note: For more information on the demonstration and its applications, contact Tom Elliott, director of the Ancient World Mapping Center, at (919) 962-0502 or; or Dr. Gary Bishop, associate professor of computer science, at (919) 962-1886 or

College of Arts and Sciences contact: Dee Reid at (919) 843-6339

News Services contact: Deb Saine at (919) 962-8415