Creating the PSU Tactile Map from One SVG File

Handouts Media

Presented at 12:45pm in Standley II Lab on Friday, November 22, 2019.



  • Michael Cantino, Accessibility Specialist, Portland Community College

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) files can be enlarged infinitely, embossed (with ink and texture!), printed on microcapsule (swell touch) paper, laser cut, vinyl cut, 3D printed, and more! Learn how to use one SVG file for a variety of production methods, and learn shortcuts for quickly creating an SVG from a source image.

Abstract Portland State University worked with its BVI students and Portland Community College to create a large scale, high contrast, 3D tactile map to promote orientation and mobility around the PSU campus. The map shows the orientation of PSU buildings among the busy terrain of downtown Portland, and includes sky bridges, transit lines, street and building labels, open "hardscape" and grass areas, and the relative heights of buildings. The map is made of laser cut and etched acrylic and wood, 3D printed symbols and labels, vinyl cut grass textures, and a high contrast print layer. All of these were produced using the same SVG source file. The use of one SVG file for all the aspects of production helped maintain the required accuracy across production methods while working on a large scale. Learn where SVGs fit into your alt formats work flow, how they can be used in different production methods, and tricks for quickly creating SVGs.


  1. Understand SVGs in your alt formats workflow and how file can be adapted for various production methods.
  2. Learn specific approaches for preparing files for 3D printing, laser cutting, and embossing.
  3. Understand available “shortcut” methods for quickly creating SVG files from a source image.

Disability Areas

All Areas, Mobility, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Alternate Format, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Michael Cantino

Michael Cantino is an Accessibility Specialist at Portland Community College and a Student Research Assistant at Portland State University. Before joining PCC in 2017, Michael worked in K-12 special education for 11 years, specializing in supporting students with behavioral challenges, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and students with visual impairments. Michael is a Library of Congress certified braille transcriber and is skilled in the production of tactile graphics and 3D models for visually impaired learners. At PCC, Michael provides a broad range of supports for students experiencing disabilities, with a focus on assistive technology, alternative formats, and in-class supports. In addition to his work at Portland Community College, Michael is also a Student Research Assistant at Portland State University where he is studying the use of interactive 3D models to support visually impaired learners.