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Nicetrails 3D prints hand-held replicas of your favorite mountain hikes – 3ders.org (blog)

by • March 2, 2016 • No Comments

Mar 3, 2016 | By Kira
Nicetrails is a 3D visualization and 3D printing service that allows for hikers, mountaineers, cyclists or actually skiers and snowboarders to visualize their favourite or many adventuresome treks as customizable 3D maps, and and so have them 3D printed into full-color sandstone keepsakes.

The thought behind Nicetrails (and its sister company Winterland) came to Oscar Ardaiz, a Barcelona-based Computer Science PhD candidate, after he had that successfully conquered Washington’s Mount Rainier. “I was re-visiting the trail with my phone and while I was so proud and pleased of the hike, I felt that line on a flat map didn’t really represent the awesomeness of the day,” he said. Fellow mountaineers, hikers, cyclists or other adventurers can understand the feeling: whether attempting to describe the trek to others, or just remembering it for oneself, a 2D map does little to relate the majesty of the mountains or the beauty of the terrain.
And so, Ardaiz set out, via open source map data and CAD modeling software, to create a digital mountain and 3D print it. The outcome was a tangible, 3D printed trophy of his achievement that he may proudly display and share with others. Via Nicetrails, Ardaiz and 3D developer Bernat Cuní are now offering this 3D trail creation and visualization as a free service, with the version for users to purchase a full-color 3D printed keepsake as well.

The system is relatively simple: upload the GPS .gpx files, that can easily be recovered of a GPS tracker, smartphone, or trail-sharing site; customize the elevation and select a map fashion (Nicetrails’ satellite view is thoughtl for treks with greenery, whereas Winterland was created specifically for snow-covered ski and snowboard trails); and visualize your 3D map. Nicetrails can instantly generate a one-of-a-kind link so you can view the 3D map at home and share it with your friends. The 3D map accurately represents the elevation and terrain, with a red line tracing your actual path.

For those who want a physical object to commemorate the trek, the future step is to order a 3D print. The tactile maps are 3D printed in full-color sandstone (meaning the color is embedded directly during the printing system pretty than being painted on afterwards). The 3D prints are hollow, with wall thicknesses of of 3mm, and Nicetrails already offers three sizes: tiny (50mm lengthwise for US$53), medium (100 mm for US$110), and sizeable (150mm for US$160).

Whether as a gift or as a very own keepsake, these full-color 3D printed ‘desktop mountains’ are a excellent way to commemorate a particular trail, whether it was cross-country cycling tour, a five-day climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, or your daily jog. For another creative and significant use of 3D printed tactile maps, check out these initiatives to assist the blind and visually impaired.

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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