3D Topographic Maps of US States

by nlorang, published

3D Topographic Maps of US States by nlorang Apr 28, 2016


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MeshLab Fusion 360 Qgis AccuTrans 3D

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18307Views 7798Downloads Found in Scans & Replicas


These are individual STLs of the topography of each US state, derived from USGS data and projected using the Lambert Conformal Conic projection.

They've been scaled so that sea level is 1/4" of thickness, the maximum height in the continental US is 3.25", and put together would form a map about 7' wide and 4' tall. Each state has been simplified to an STL file with 10,000 facets to enable easy slicing or cutting.

More details about how these files were generated is at https://imgur.com/a/fMy19.

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You've blessed me with a mega step forward in my map knowledge. I'm fascinated with QGIS and this project really lit up some of it's features. Plus I've wanted to create a map like this on my CNC for ages.

I'm printing these, and would like the option to print Alaska in the same projection and scale. Did you ever get around to creating that? Even if it's insane-o large, I'd be really happy if there was a file on the same scale and in the same projection, including all the AK parts including the panhandle. I can separate it (in Meshmixer or something) for printing.

Alternatively, if you have instructions that I might follow to create these myself, maybe I can do it? That would make it possible for me to also create objects of the Canadian provinces and the Mexican states, which are things I'd very much like to do.

This is a really cool project. I like the way it is documented (imgur), great work!

My computer will not open the files that have been provided. How do I get them to open in Aspire software?

Any chance these fit within the constraints of a 220x220 bed?

Hi! This is a great design and I am attempting to print it out for my 4th and 5th grade classroom. I am printing the "regions" in different colors as we are learning about the states one region at a time. I am currently working on printing the southeastern region and I am having a problem with North Carolina. I have attempted the print twice and each time it creates a hole across the middle of the state. Any ideas why this may be occurring? Other than this issue, it has been going well and the students are enjoying seeing the final product of each state!!! Any help you could provide would be appreciated!! (BTW...I am using a Makerbot Replicator+ if that matters).

Do you know what scale you settled on for the height? I'm thinking it's around 10x? I'm wondering what it would look like for a bumpy state (like colorado) without the scaling.

If I'm reading my sticky note from a year ago right, the height scale is about 44x the lat/long scale.

Oh wow, yeah that doesn't look very interesting, even in a bumpy state like colorado. I'll pick something that looks good. Thanks for finding that in your "engineering log" :)

Awesome map. Just a quick question. Is the scale of Alaska different than the other states? I scaled all the states to 25%, or .25, but Alaska becomes smaller than CA, and TX. Great job on the conversion.

Good catch -- Alaska is smaller, because I didn't have room on my wall for a proper sized Alaska (I don't think I quite realized how big it should be until after I'd already committed to the overall scale of the continental US). It's also a slightly different projection and missing the SE panhandle. I don't have one handy, but I'll try to upload a fixed and properly scaled version at some point.

Thanks for the update. I am actually also going to try the procedure you described to do a similar project for the national parks. I want to do a 3D topographical map of the major national parks of the US. If you have any tips they are more than welcome.

Alaska is missing southeast panhandle