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Making PDFs of Maps "Accessible" - is there a simple way?!

Community Beginner ,
Jul 28, 2020

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Hello

I work for a organisation that is having to make many hundreds, probably thousands, of existing PDFs on it's website accessible (using the Acrobat Pro accessibility checker).

 

One issue we are having is with PDFs that show maps.  If I run them through the accessibility checker they come back littered with errors because it picks up all of the labels, title text, scale text etc etc.  In this instance we just want it to ignore all of that and we add one alt text box we says what the map shows.

 

Is this possible in a simple manner?!

Thanks

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Standards and accessibility

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Making PDFs of Maps "Accessible" - is there a simple way?!

Community Beginner ,
Jul 28, 2020

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Hello

I work for a organisation that is having to make many hundreds, probably thousands, of existing PDFs on it's website accessible (using the Acrobat Pro accessibility checker).

 

One issue we are having is with PDFs that show maps.  If I run them through the accessibility checker they come back littered with errors because it picks up all of the labels, title text, scale text etc etc.  In this instance we just want it to ignore all of that and we add one alt text box we says what the map shows.

 

Is this possible in a simple manner?!

Thanks

TOPICS
Standards and accessibility

Views

77

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Jul 28, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 28, 2020

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So you want to make the file accessible without all the annoying features that make it actually accessible to people who can't see it, basically?

 

You can convert those pages with the maps to an image. However, that will mean that the text will be lost and the map couldn't be searched. Also, if it is currently done using vector graphics it will mean that if you zoom in (or print it to a large page) it will come out pixelated. I would say that you should fix those errors, instead of trying to get around them.

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Jul 28, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jul 28, 2020

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I don't think that doing this would pass any accessibilty tests. You'd be saying, "there's a map here, but blind people aren't allowed to use it". So what you need is to make the map accessible. No, I don't know how, but it doesn't sound a quick job.

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Jul 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 28, 2020

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If you don't have access to the original files that created the PDFs, you could try editing the PDFs in Acrobat, select a map, open it in Acrobat and run a preflight fixup that would convert all of the fonts to outlines, that should make the maps unsearchable and inaccessible, but still legible. Or you might be able to edit the maps in Illustrator, where you could move the map type you wanted to keep to a new layer to lock it, then select all text objects and convert to outlines, then re-save as a PDF. Keep a copy of the original PDFs, perhaps the accessibility tools will work with maps some day.

Edit: Here is a really good video from Rob Haverty about maps and accessibility:

https://www.doi.gov/ocio/section508/video2

 

Convert fonts to outlines.png

 

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Jul 28, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Aug 05, 2020

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I completely agree that making the individual parts accessible is the Right Thing, and might be quite a challenge, but if the maps are relatively simple, a carefully worded alt text might be acceptable. You can hide the 'noise' by adding a Private tag (which is very similar to role=presentation in aria). This tag tells the accessibility API to ignore the contents.

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Aug 05, 2020 0