Our Method for Creating Papercraft Mountains

Would you like to learn more about our method for creating papercraft raised relief maps from digital elevation data? We wrote a paper describing the method that has been included in the proceedings of the 10th Mountain Cartography Workshop. You will find out

  • what makes a “good” mesh for papercrafting,
  • how we optimise the underlying triangulated irregular network (TIN) to obtain such meshes,
  • how our results compare to those of other common methods (regular grid, greedy, QSLIM), and
  • tips for unfolding and building the final model.

You can download the paper here.

Comparison of the triangle meshes generated using different existing algorithms and the proposed method, showing an oblique and a top-down view.

Mount St. Helens

Get the Mount St Helens model on Etsy.

Features

  • Height x Width x Depth (mm): 37 x 148 x 199
  • Scale 1:60,000 (scale bar printed on the side)
  • Flaps numbered in recommended order of assembly
  • 100 triangles in 10 parts
  • 4 reinforced wall elements
  • Instructions illustrated with helpful photos.
  • Suitable for A4 and Letter size paper

In 1980, a cataclysmic eruption of Mount Saint Helens displaced 3 km³ of rock and soil, destroying the peak of the mountain and covering much of its flanks in lava, ash and mud. The event transformed the face of the volcano, creating the now characteristic horseshoe-shaped crater in place of the symmetric cone that had earned the peak the nickname “Fujisan of America” in the past. Almost 40 years later, the flowpaths of the lava and mud are still clearly visible, and the crater serves as a humbling reminder that Earth’s surface is ever changing.

This papercraft model of Mount Saint Helens is based on elevation data from the high precision National Elevation Dataset, allowing you to fully appreciate the mountain’s fascinating shape, and the extremely detailed aerial imagery from the US National Agriculture Imagery Program lets you explore the varied surface of this still-active volcano from the comfort and safety of your own home.

You can simply download the template and print it at home, or we can send you a kit printed on high quality heavy paper.

Mount Fuji

Get the Mount Fuji model on Etsy.

Features

  • Height x Width x Depth (mm): 49 x 153 x 153
  • Scale 1:60,000 (scale bar printed on the side)
  • Flaps numbered in recommended order of assembly
  • 120 triangles in 10 parts
  • 4 reinforced wall elements
  • Suitable for A4 and Letter size paper

You can simply download the template and print it at home, or we can send you a kit printed on high quality heavy paper.

We create papercraft model kits of iconic mountains that you can build at home.

The models are available in our Etsy shop.

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The Matterhorn, on a postcard!

The Matterhorn

Mount Fuji

Mount St Helens

More models to come soon.


“At least once in their early years, cartographers, topographers, geographers, and geologists should construct a terrain model based on an interesting contour plan”

Eduard Imhof, Swiss Cartographer, 1982