Conor O’kane also known as Cokane is one of those maniacs who are so fascinated by technology they want to get into practice the latest technology in the market. Some of his interest according to his blogs are graphics, game development, music and shmups. Last but not the least is the 3D printing. His recent project shows that he is quite eager and keen to use the 3D printers. O'Kane is from Ireland and moving far from home to Melbourne Australia makes him miss His family and Ireland. So O'Kane deided to 3D print the map of the entire Island Of Ireland. It is one of the projects that is very close to his heart as it makes him feel at home looking at the 3D printed map.
For the creation of the project O'Kane has used some other technologies in order to complete the final 3D printed maps. He used Spearheaded by US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) that are research effort involving people around the world. The motive behind this is to gather digital elevation models for the entire globe developing a high resolution digital topographic database of the Earth. These elevation models are available on the Internet as free downloads further being used as geographic information systems. The main perks of this are that we have never before had this kind of readily available topographic information about our planet.
With the help of this topographic data O'Kane has 3D printed the map of Ireland and presented it to his parents. The detailed map is also available for free download on Thingiverse and was printed using a Cacoon Create 3D printer without any rafts or support. O'Kane further recommended it to be printed with three top layers in order to ensure that the upper surfaces are flat. The project was 3D printed with 0.2 mm resolution and 20% infill. The map already has 1,614 views and its STL files have hit 387 downloads.
One of the major reasons of the 3D printed map becoming popular is because the topographic data that was previously available to the people was not more detailed as it is now. Prior to this SRTM data for the regions outside the United States were sampled for public release at 90 meters i.e. 295 feet. Lately in 2015 the highest resolution topographic data was made available to the public. The new data is released with a reach of about 30 meters i. e. 98 feet sampling that reveals full resolution of the original measurements. All these are later translated into a full and wide range of topographic data enabling for map projects like that O'kean has created. These 3D printed maps also be used at an educational level to give the students a better idea of the geographic locations.
Apart from him many others have also posted their own version of the 3D printed map of Ireland and are of slight difference but are some way holding onto the design made by O'kean's original maps design. In future there will be may others who will be 3D printing maps using the new SRTM data. Also O'Kane's idea can be theoretically applied to almost every place on the planet earth. The 3D printing technology is encouraging and inspiring many enthusiasts to experiment with the 3D printed maps and the data available growing better with time. O'Kane has also used the NASA data to 3D print the maps of the moon and the mars.