3D Printing Topographical MapsGrades 9-12
- Social Sciences
INTRODUCTIONOne powerful application of 3D printing is the ability to create tangible objects that help students visualize information.
While not a simple process it is much easier to process topographical data and convert it to a 3D Printable file on a PC than a MAC. For information on how to do this on a PC see Maps to 3D. The process becomes a bit more complicated on a MAC. This tutorial's purpose is to provide a workable option for MAC users.
- Be able to create topographical maps on a MAC.
- 3D printer
- Access to the internet
- Applications: Browser, QGIS, OmNomNom, Photo Editor, OpenSCAD, NetFabb, a Slicer
- Download heightmap2STL
- Navigate to earth explorer.
- Create an account or sign in. You will need to be signed in to download files.
Enter an area for Search Criteria.
- Zoom into to selection.
- Under Coordinates click on the red X, then click on the map to create a selection.
Navigate to Data Sets and click on Digital Elevation and select Aster Global DEM.
Navigate to Results
- Download the files.
- Agree to restrictions:
- Once downloaded, created another folder to hold just the DEM files.
- Open QGIS
- To open the DEM files click on the Add Raster Layer icon.
- Click Directory then Browse under Source and select your DEM directory:
- You will need to merge your multiple DEM files into a single file. To merge raster files, click on Raster→Miscellaneous→Merge.
- Select the folder with your raster files for input
- Save your output file on you computer with the tiff extension.
- Click OK.
- When the process is completed close the popup windows.
- Select Layer→Properties
Change Min to 0
Set Current to Extent
Set Contrast enhancement to Stretch to Min/Max
Set Load to Min/Max
Project→Save Image As and save the image as a JPEG.
- Open the jpg file in Photoshop or another image editing application.
- Crop out the white border and save
- Open terminal.
Arguments: 'path': Path to the heightmap (png, jpegs,... ) 'height of model': Z scale of the model. Height of the max elevation. 'height of base': Height of the base, the model stands on.
java -jar path to heightmap2stl.jar path to imagefile height of model height of base