I ran across an intriguing image today, of a tactile map used by the Inuit of Kalaallit Nunaat (aka Greenland) to navigate the coastline. The maps, carved from wood, were held inside the users’ mittens, and read by feel, rather than visually. Made from wood, they were durable, floated if dropped in the water, and were unaffected by weather and damp. The contours of the land are exaggerated, allowing users to navigate entirely by feel.
There are frustratingly few images of these maps online — I don’t know if it’s my web-research skills, or the fact that I couldn’t find any reference that gave the Inuit name for these artifacts. But I did find quite a few blog posts about the maps, all of them written by non-native posters, many of whom were intrigued by the idea of non-visual mapmaking.