San Francisco Topography

Made my first attempt at a topographic laser cut map.
I’m pretty happy how it came out – and this is just the cardboard prototype.

Still thinking about other features I might add to the final map, but wanted to get some practice cutting and building a layer topographic map.

I used QGIS, data from here, and Illustrator, loosely based on the techniques described here:

This was so fun. I’m going to make a lot of these.


looks great. Lots of pieces to glue


I love topo maps! and thanks for the links.


I hate to see such a nice prototype go to waste. Maybe you can spray paint it and/or coat with resin or something, to make it more permanent.


Definitely. I actually kind of like the cardboard look of it :smiley:
I may finish the edges and make a little box for it and still hang it on my wall.


Very nice! I sometimes enjoy using cardboard for the end product. It’s fun and like to recycle.


After a few iterations, my “final” version is drying now:


Excellent use if bananas as a weight & measure :grin:


This is exactly what I am trying to teach myself to do right now. The learning curve going from inkscape to 3D software is outrageous!

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Do you mean GIS software? or are you actually using 3D software?

I use GIS (mapping software) to create contours, but still ultimately do a lot of the work in Illustrator (in 2D) :smiley:

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I’m trying to learn sketchup, whichever category that falls into.

That’s actual 3D modeling.

Honestly I don’t know what’s going to be harder to learn GIS or 3D modeling =P both I expect to have a learning curve.

The advantage of 3D modeling is you can use that for lots of other (non-map) projects as well.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

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Since I don’t know either of them and am struggling to find a good source of DEM info for my area, it is going to be a slow process. I’m debating going back to street maps. LOL

In the past I’ve had real success with this:

Even though it’s for Lidar, I don’t use the Lidar, I select an AOI and download the DEMs.

However, I just tried it, and it wasn’t working :-/ seems to be some error.

In theory you can get the same data from:
but I’ve had a less easy time here.

And right now it says something about an outage… maybe that’s the same issue causing the other error.

I just tried to do a search on that page… and it confirms that there’s the same error… which is actually a good sign, cause probably when this site:
is back up, everything should work again.


Where are you trying to get DEM data? I’m happy to help point you in the right direction.


Dem data is great. If I could even find a decent topo I can do it with Inkscape it will just be a long tedious process.

FYI… those USGS sites I linked above are working again :slight_smile:

Let me know if you have trouble finding DEM data.

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Looking good. Now just add a few of the bathymetric ocean layers!

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Navigating those sites alone has a learning curve, but I’ll learn.

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