TopoTopo is an open source web tool that just by telling you the place that interests you offers you a 3D model instantly that you can save or print.
In a newsletter of Carto, dedicated to the Intelligence of Location, I discover TopoTopo, an open source platform created by the American company Hush, that allows to obtain 3D models of the land instantly by just entering the name of the place that interests you.
TopoTopo uses data from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), with updated information to 2015 and a resolution of about 30 meters. Being radar images allows to obtain reliable information in areas covered by clouds usually or with very dense vegetation. On the contrary in areas of ice or large areas of water do not always get good results. TopoTopo handles the SRTM data with the help of the Google Maps API, allowing you to use its global database of place names.
Actually in as easy to use as Google Maps, just enter the place and in a few seconds you will have a 3D model. In addition you can save an image with the model, send it to print in 3D in several materials through Shapeways (if you do not care about the shipping costs from the Netherlands or USA) or save a .obj file, a very common file type in print 3D, alternative STL files.
The image has a couple of zoom levels and you can also set the height exaggeration for more eye-catching results. When using it I have missed some label with the toponymy, to make sure that I am getting the model of the desired area, but the idea is really fantastic.
This is just one more example of how open data helps disseminate information and stimulate new uses of Geographic Information, as pointed out a few days ago by Antonio F. Rodríguez Pascual, assistant deputy director of the National Geographic Information Center (CNIG) In an interview that we reproduced in Nosolosig 10 reasons for the Public Administration to open their geographical data.
And it is also another magnificent example about the importance of place names and names of geographical places, as they have also pointed out in the V Jornada of the Specialized Commission of Geographical Names of Spain, held just a few days ago.
We are seeing more options to print maps and models of the terrain in three dimensions, we have talked about some of Nosolosig in this article Is it easy to print in 3D?