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Creating Graphs with TactileView Software Tutorial

Learn how to create mathematical graphs with coordinate systems and grids that are suitable for tactile graphics

Introduction: Graph and Grid

The TactileView drawing tool ‘Draw graph’ has a large number of examples for grids. A complete grid consists of the axis setup, formula(s) and tactile appearance settings. Selecting an example and modifying this will get you in a few steps to a tactile usable graph that can be produced on swell paper, a braille embosser or on the motorised drawing arm (MDA).
Produced in braille or on swell paper, it also will present the text labels for the formula in different mathematical braille notations.
External math software such as MathType that uses MathML file format can be used to import a formula to have this plotted in a graph


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‘Graphs’ menu: Many options to chose from

The item in the main menu ‘Graphs’ and the icon in the vertical tool bar ‘Draw graph’ both bring up the same range of features to create a graph with ease. Ease is still a relative concept; to obtain a tactile usable graph quite a number of aspects has to be thought through. Over 30 parameters can be set to design the axes, graph(s) and overall appearance.

Chicken–egg dilemma in tactile drawing with software

When you know what kind of formula you need to have plotted in a graph, you have aspects like the type of the scale, the range and texts for the axis etc. already in mind as well. In other words, do you want to compose the axis setup first (as you would do on paper) so you can add the formula in a second step? Or do you want to enter the formula first (what you can actually do in software) and afterwards adapt the axes fitting the produced graph? With this latter approach you have to be concerned about all the aspects that make the grid a tactile usable diagram.

Solve the dilemma: Grid examples as a starting point

The TactileView software has a number of examples with preset values available for graphs of various types. There are examples for coordinate systems (grids with just the axis settings) and also a number of examples that contain a single formula or even multiple formulas.
A modified example grid can be stored as a ‘MyGrid’ for future use.

Learn how to create three different axis types in this tutorial

The following three worksheets will show you step by step how to create a grid with a linear axis scale, a logarithmic one or using degrees and radians as units.

Worksheet 1: Linear scale

Worksheet 2: Logarithmic Y scale to represent the Covid19 infection cases

Worksheet 3: Scale in degrees or radians for goniometrical functions

Dutch Air Traffic Control Tutorial

Learn how to get insight in Dutch air traffic control with MDA/TactiPad

In the Netherlands there is a discussion going on for quite some time now about opening up an additional airport Lelystad. One of the aspects is the need to re-arrange the air corridors as part of the complexity of the air traffic control. To get an overview, a tactile map is helpful. How are the airports scattered around the country? Where are the major air corridors and how large are the descent areas relative to the size of the country? In other words, how complex is it with 500.000 take offs and landings for airport Schiphol alone?
Map of the Netherlands showing airports aircorridors and descent areas
Photo: Map of the Netherlands sketched with MDA on TactiPad, showing airport locations, air corridors and descent areas.

Using the tools TactiPad and MDA

By using the TactiPad and the motorised drawing arm (MDA) you are able to add elements in consecutive steps to the tactile map. First the contour of the Netherlands, next the five cities that are appointed as national airport already and the location of the sixth airport, Lelystad. Then some lines indicating the air corridors. Lastly the descent areas surrounding the cities. The information for the map is supplied by

You can watch the video or read the detailed instructions below.

Video: MDA interactive module Maps

Detailed instructions


By visiting with your browser you can obtain the same result. Maps of all sorts can be composed and downloaded in SVG file format. The TactileView software can be used to produce the map on your Braille embosser or swell paper.
However, there are a few differences.
When using TactileView, you need to download the map, open it in the software and print it, whereas with the MDA, you compose the map and press the button ‘Sketch with MDA’. Even more, after production of the map, you can still manually add details to the map by using a regular pen.


To have the right tools and a way to present the information in a fashionable manner can help you to understand complex situations. Let us know if you have any challenge that you would like us to showcase with the Thinkable tools for tactile graphics.

Any comments are welcomed