Partners of the project
- University of Macedonia (UOM) – Lead Partner
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) – Study Centre for the Visually Impaired (SZS)
- GeoImaging Ltd (GI)
- National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UoA)
- Mustafa Kemal University (MKU)
- Association of Barrier Free Access (ABFA)
- Panhellenic Association of the Blind (PAB)
University of Macedonia (UOM) – Lead Partner
University of Macedonia (UOM) is the project leader and coordinating institution of the ATMAPS project. The Department of Educational and Social Policy of UOM was established in an effort to serve certain areas of educational and social science that have become of special interest to the community.
The Department awards one degree, which is distinguished into the following two majors:
- Major in Continuing Education
- Major in Education of People with Special Needs
Among other fields of research the Department of Educational and Social Policy is very active in research related to the field of visual impairment. In particular extended research is conducted on spatial skills, cognitive maps, tactile maps, assistive technology, psychosocial aspects of visual impairment, support of individuals with visual impairment (IVIs) in their higher education studies, social support and social networks of IVIs, distance learning, multimodal learning environments, education and rehabilitation of the elderly with visual impairments as well as vocational rehabilitation of individuals with visual impairments.
Furthermore the Department of Educational and Social Policy has special equipment for the production of audio-tactile material such as embosser-printers that can produce both tactile graphics and Braille with text, touch pad devices that can be used for teaching using touch, sound and sight combined, force feedback haptic devices, screen readers, Text to Speech, OCR software etc. as well as devices for the production of tactile maps and tactile graphics.
URL (English): http://www.uom.gr/index.php?newlang=eng
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) – Study Centre for the Visually Impaired (SZS)
The Study Centre for the Visually Impaired (SZS) is part of the Faculty of Computer Science at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It is a service and research Institute which supports students with blindness and low vision during their studies at the university. The SZS service consists of counselling, guidance and special support in pedagogical and technical fields for visually impaired persons, at three points in time: when entering higher education, during the studies, and in transition to the labour market. The aim is to realise a comprehensive inclusion of the students with visual impairment into everyday life.
The SZS research programmes focus on mathematical working environments, description languages for the blind, access to graphics and alternative user interfaces as well as development of assistive technologies. Additionally, the SZS is involved into an international network and participates in national and international research and development programmes. The SZS is directed by Prof. Rainer Stiefelhagen who holds a professorship on IT-based systems for visually impaired students.
URL SZS (English): http://www.szs.kit.edu/english/index.php
URL KIT (English): http://www.kit.edu/english/index.php
GeoImaging Ltd (GI)
The GeoImaging Ltd (GI) is a leading SME in Cyprus, established in 2002 at Nicosia. The company offers scientific and professional solutions in Geo-informatics. It is also active in Research and Development (R&D) programmes, in EU & national funded projects and provides consultations services as well.
The services and consultations of GeoImaging are tailored towards Geo-informatics area that helps public and private sector succeed with improving their performance and implementing projects. GeoImaging goal is to support its clients and partners in the responsible and successful completion of projects. The products and services span state of the art knowledge and technology from spatial/image information acquisition, processing, analysis to representation and visualisation. The area of projects’ that GeoImaging is acting concerns informatics in the broader extent, i.e. Photogrammetry, Imaging, 3D modelling, GIS, IT/Software Development & Databases, Cartography, Remote Sensing, Surveying, Geodesy and GPS.
Understanding the importance of continuous progress and market competitiveness, GeoImaging has developed its own R&D department. The research topics developed attempt to incorporate IT/geoinformatics solutions to a wide area of arts and sciences targeting to the production of knowledge intensive innovative services and products.
Making use of the latest technological and theoretical developments regarding cartography and capitalizing on experience through several research projects.
URL (English): www.geoimaging.com.cy
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UoA)
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the oldest (founded in 1837) and largest university in Greece, with 32 Departments, 2.100 members of the Academic Staff and more than 62.000 students. The Department of Informatics and Telecommunications (participated in this project proposal with its Speech & Accessibility Laboratory), has been founded in 1989 and includes 42 academic staff members, over 135 PhD candidates and 180 research associates. It is highly involved in numerous National and International funded research and development projects. The Department of Informatics and Telecommunications is ranked among the top 100 of World Universities in Computer Science by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (http://www.arwu.org/). The research interests of the Speech and Accessibility Laboratory focuses on the area of Computer Accessibility and Voice User Interfaces, as a part of the major domain of Human-Computer Interaction, with emphasis in: Accessible Computing, Spoken Dialogue Human Computer Interaction, Usability, VoiceWeb, Voice Agents, Voice Processing, Analysis and Synthesis of Speech, Computer Mediated Interpersonal Communication, Information Systems/Services and Assistive Technologies for Disabled and Elderly People, Accessibility of Documents, Music Computing; Singing Voice Analysis, Virtual Musical Instruments, and Byzantine Chanting Analysis and Synthesis, Gesture-based User Interfaces, and Computer Accessibility in Learning and Education.
URL (English): http://speech.di.uoa.gr/sppages/firsten.html
Mustafa Kemal University (MKU)
Founded in 1992, Mustafa Kemal University (MKU), following the modern developments, undertakes to correspond universal values with regional and national values and to find solutions for the problems of the country. MKU is a large public university with approximately 25.000 students and 1500 employees that operates in many different disciplines. With 14 faculties, 6 four year vocational schools, 18 two year vocational schools, a conservatory and 17 research centers, MKU is determined to serve its society and the world with significant contribution in terms of education, service, and research. This project does support our vision and complements the areas in which we provide service. Our university hosts many students with visual impairments and has an open door policy for all individuals with special needs. Besides housing a Special Education Department which provides education to special education teachers and consult/support the public, our university also has a disability support unit that provides services to and assists students with special needs throughout their higher education. As the Faculty of Education and Department of Special Education, we have been actively involved in international and national research projects concerning individuals with disabilities. Since we are the only Special Education Department in the providence, regardless the fact that we are specialized in cognitive disabilities, we also provide services related to all other recognized disability categories.
Association of Barrier Free Access (ABFA)
Association of Barrier Free Access is a nonprofit activist organization. Its main purpose is to remove barriers which prevent equal opportunity, physical access and social integration of disabled people.
In order to increase physical accessibility, ABFA established disabled Access platform in Turkey and made a series of activities including public demonstrations, preparation of documentations, counseling activities and interviews with municipalities. As a result accessibility of public transportation in Istanbul like audio systems in busses which informs the bus stops could be succeeded.
ABFA also attend to the workshops related to the establishment of standards of tactile paving systems for blind people in streets and metro stations and closely works with Turkish disability administration in determination of standards.
ABFA also have affiliation with the Assistive Technology and Education Laboratory for Individuals with Visual Disabilities (GETEM) which is the largest technology center and e-library for blind people, for tactile maps and tactile map training of blind people, with 4500 blind members. As GETEM activity ABFA helped the preparation of tactile campus MAPS in Bogazici University.
The other main activities of ABFA are following.
- First audio described movies for blind people and sign language for deaf people in Turkey.
- Evaluation and training activities for web accessibility.
- Computer courses for blind people through internet.
- Preparation of many documents about the rights of disabled students.
- Establishment of barrier free informatics systems platform.
Panhellenic Association of the Blind (PAB)
The Panhellenic Association of the Blind (PAB) was established in 1932 and it is the first organisation for the blind in Greece with approximately 5.000 members. It is a nationwide scale primary union of federal type with 9 regional associations in Greece. PAB is administered by a 9-membered board and it is the exclusive representative of the Greek blind in the National Confederation of Disabled People (N.C.D.P.) and in all the official international organisations of the blind.
PAB is at the forefront of support of its members with a view to equitable inclusion of people with visual impairment. The Association of the Blind in Thessaloniki operates service offices for: borrowing library with accessible audio books, orientation & mobility and daily living skills for education services, as well as social service aiming at psychosocial support of individuals with visual impairments and the establishment of a network of volunteers in order to meet the needs of its members. Moreover, PAB functions a Department of International and European Projects.
Since 2006 PAB operates a cultural and educational center. In its premises PAB has a recording studio, computer lab and lounge for entertainment events. It also conducts tutorials for Braille reading and writing for sighted readers. At a cultural level a theater group has been established and in order to organize tactile exhibitions the representation of paintings and engravings in tactile form was implemented, in collaboration with the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Within the frames of the “Prospelasis” project, PAB participated in the creation of tactile templates for Byzantine monuments of the city of Thessaloniki.