There is some exciting news for all savvy cartographers who would like to get more tactile with their work. A mapping app has been designed for those who want to convert mapping areas into 3D printed designs which could be useful for a multitude of reasons, and would definitely be priceless in posterity, as something one could hand down to the next generations.
We all have nostalgia for our hometowns. When I look back to the neighborhood where I grew up, it’s certainly changed — and how fun it would have been to show “the old neighborhood” to my children — with a 3D model they could hold in their hands so I could show them where I freely rode my bike, roller-skated up and down the roads collecting bumps and bruises, and walked to school, without oops, bumping into a mega high-rise hotel, which would be the case now — along with most of the houses having been torn down and replaced by McMansions.
While India grows at a rapid pace, one Indian citizen was able to find a way to take his neighborhood map to new heights. He wanted to hit the stop button and preserve both his geography and topography in 3D print so that one day he and his progeny could look back. As a citizen who loves his city and values his surroundings as they are now, he is worried it is changing so fast that one day he won’t truly remember what it looked like, or even be able to describe it.
What better way to remember your city and surroundings just as it is now than to be able to hold it, timelessly, in your hand. Using a 3D design app developed by ThatcherC , called STL Generator, our user was able to create an instant 3D printable file of his desired mapping region from Google Maps. STL Generator is still in beta testing for now, but we’re hoping it will become available for use soon.
He came up with the idea quite some time ago, but like many good ideas over the ages, it took some time to figure out how to execute it. As time wore on and the city he lived in continued to grow, he read about an artist who was using 3D printing to make maps for the visually impaired so they could have as comprehensive an understanding of their surroundings as possible. Even with this idea and inspiration, it wasn’t so easy to find a user-friendly 3D application for what the user wanted to do.
Quite simply, STL Generator makes it possible for you to select your specific map and 3D print it. The app is very user-friendly, and allows you to create an STL file. Using the Google Maps area you desire to preserve, you simply select the area you want to 3D print using a red box to designate the area, moving it, sliding it, or dragging it to get the exact coordinates you need for your STL file.
For our user, it was invaluable to be able to map a city in 3D, and ironically, use a high-tech app to stop progress, and preserve a moment in time to hand down to his grandchildren, who perhaps one day will want to do the same — and that’s a 3D map I wish I had a crystal ball to see.
Have you 3D printed anything like this? Tell us about it in the 3D Printed Mapping forum over at 3DPB.com.