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Thread: Various three-dimensional, hand cut, topographical maps of New Zealand.

  1. #1

    Map Various three-dimensional, hand cut, topographical maps of New Zealand.

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    Christchurch/Banks Peninsula

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    Milford Sound

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    Dunedin/Otago Peninsula

    This was my process:

    This is my process:
    I use an interactive map website called It lets me add user created content to a map. User content can include basic contour lines, coast lines, rivers and lakes (all of which I use) or can include more peculiar and specific things like wind zones, sink holes, traffic lights, tsunami evacuation zones, there's literally hundreds. This particular website is contains mainly NZ related content.

    I downloaded 20m contour lines and coastline data. I then put it through QuantumGIS to filter out the specific elevations that I don't need. In the above examples each layer represents 100m. It was quite a steep learning curve teaching myself how to erase everything but 100m using QGIS (it still kind of is because I barely know what I'm doing). I export each layer separately into Illustrator as .svg files.

    I then mirror the map, draw guides and print.
    Each layer is cut using scalpels and glued together with a thin layer of cardboard (about 1mm thick) in between. The whole process takes a really long time but the results speak for themselves.

    I've got plans for more locations, grander scales and smaller scales, different materials etc.

    Let me know if you've got some insight, expertise or critique that you could lay on me.

  2. #2
    Guild Expert Guild Supporter Lingon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012


    That's really cool! Must have taken ages! Welcome to the forum by the way, and have some reputation points for showing this stuff in your first post!

  3. #3
    Guild Expert jbgibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Alabama, USA


    Marvelous work, h.b.a.r. -- we'd love to see more as you delve further.

    I think I've seen this general sort of work laser-cut from thin wood veneers, and sold as fine art. At a hefty price, if I recall right! Are you doing this for others, or just for your own amusement?

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