3D Printing in Geography: The Topographic Map

3D printing has added a new layer of excitement to education. Teachers are given an additional resource for lesson planning and interactive teaching. In a technology-driven society, we expect the most accurate depiction of information. Education is no exception. In today’s geography classroom, 3D printing can be used to create topographical maps, the likes of which we have never seen before. Students can be involved in the creation of mountain ranges, oceans, plains, and other natural features of our earth.

3D printing in the geography classroom can help engage students and make the learning process more exciting. 3D printing has helped researchers land a space shuttle on a comet, by creating a model of the desired area for the shuttle landing. Why not use these same principles in the classroom?

Younger students can begin by creating a simple model of a generic feature, for example, a mountain range, while older students can create something more complex. Programs like Terrain2STL offer downloadable real-world measurements to help gauge the topographical features of a given area. By downloading the topographical information on a computer, older students can proceed in creating settings for the 3D printer to print accurate measurements and the topographical qualities of a given area.

Thingiverse is a website offering many ideas for 3D printing in education.  Geography teachers can browse the gallery of previously created geography class objects to get ideas for their own lessons. With so many great resources for teachers, there is no reason to avoid using 3D printing in your own classroom.