Vacationers interested in creating a keepsake after a trip to Mount Rainier, Mont Blanc and other geographic landmarks now can do so thanks to Terrainator, a new online service that creates and prints accurate scale 3D models.  

Website visitors simply find the area they are interested in by using the Google Map embedded in the site to select a region or landmark. It is then uploaded to Shapeways ready for 3D printing. The cost depends on the volume of material required to make the model. Terrainator provides an estimate of the cost, but Shapeways generates the exact price, including tax and shipping. A three-inch model printed in Sandstone might cost around $45.

“I've had the good fortune to be able to visit some gorgeous places over the last few months, including Yosemite in California, and Tignes in the French Alps,” says Dan Wilson, the London-based freelance web developer who started the service. “Having been steeped in the world of 3D-printing at MakieLab last year, I naturally wondered whether I could make tiny scale models of these places to remember them by.”

At present, Terrainator only has data for the UK, the Alps and the western half of the United States. But more data is coming in all the time, according to Wilson.

Since this is a side project for Wilson, he says he has no qualms about requiring a WebGL-capable browser, which means no support for Internet Explorer, Safari (at least in default state) or iOS. Translation: Use Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Wilson plans to enhance geographic coverage, colorization and print sizes, among other improvements, and asks potential customers to get in touch if there’s something in particular they would like to print.  

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