Art Piece3D Wooden Map

This isn't as much a project as it is an interesting piece of art that has been in the works for quite some time. It was created by Curae, a company that has high-quality customized works similar to this. I originally got some smaller pieces for family members over important places to them, but for myself, I wanted something a bit more grand and "worldly." This piece is 2' x 4'. It was one of their earliest larger pieces and turned out incredible! It features worldwide topography and bathymetry with a filled ocean of epoxy resin.

It's easily the best piece of art I have around and I'm glad that it incorporates something from a mapping/GIS aspect so well. Although I can't boast the impressive amount of work that went into designing this piece I can go a little bit into the detail of the type of data that was utilized and considerations involved for such a piece. The process used by Curae and their final output may not follow these exact guidelines but should give people a good idea of the difficulties when faced with visualization and practical application of this data at such scales.

Data Collection


The first step is getting worldwide data. For a project of this scale, we don't need terribly accurate data but if you were curious what the data would look like, I've got you covered. I'd personally recommend two sources for worldwide topography and bathymetry together.

  1. https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/global/global.html
    • This site has the pros of being a simple and providing a single file format for the entire world to include both topography and bathymetry. I also like that it has the option to download an already georeferenced (.tif) file which I find to be a fairly universal file type for data of this caliber. Georeferenced (.tif) files can be loaded easily in almost any mapping program without needing to do any extra work.
    • The con is that it has 1 arc-minute resolution. This is likely fine for a small-to-medium sized piece on a worldwide extent. However, it may be a bit lackluster if you were to focus on more specific extents.
  2. https://topex.ucsd.edu/WWW_html/srtm30_plus.html
    • This site has an improved resolution of 30 arc-seconds. Which will have a bit more detail than the above source. Although this will cause the data to be a bit bulkier to handle due to this increased size limit, if you needed better accuracy due to a more focused extent, this could be a requirement.
    • The con is that the downloads are not setup as conveniently as they are broken down into multiple tiles and may require a bit of conversion depending on the file type you would prefer to work with. You'll have to check and make sure your processing the tiles or converting appropriately.

From here we can simply set up the data into a format that allows us to apply some edits and calculations to fix potential issues that could stem from the way this data would need to be altered to make sure the wooden outcome isn't too difficult to work with.