From clay tablets to satellite imagery, technology has always shaped the way humans have made maps. More recently, advances in 3D printing and cartographic data collection have made it possible to print remarkably accurate 3D replicas of a geographic area.
That’s precisely what Tokyo-based 3D-printing company iJet is doing with its new Kickstarter campaign: One Hundred Tokyo.
The company is designing and printing a full-color, three-dimensional map of Tokyo at roughly 1/12,500 scale, made of 100 separate pieces, each about the size of your hand. The models are based on urban data from Zenrin—the same company that supplies data to Google Maps and Microsoft.
After getting cleaned up a bit by iJet, the models are printed in full color out of gypsum power. The printed model is then coated in resin to protect it and make the colors appear more vibrant.
Individual map pieces are expected to retail for $125 each, but Kickstarter backers can still get them for less than $100. After the campaign wraps up, the complete set of 100 map pieces will sell for $12,500.