Feb.23, 2014

3D terrain maps are a great visual and practical aid for gaining a better understanding of any geographical area. Through 3D printing process, China's military has created 3D printed tactical terrain maps of Lanzhou City, capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, according to a report published on its official website on February 19, 2014.

The 3D tactical terrain model of Lanzhou city was specifically designed with the Military Planner in mind. 3D printed model allows military tacticians to better visualize landscapes for military planning, topographic analysis, emergency services and civil engineering.

The research team in the Measuring and Mapping Information Center of the Lanzhou Military Area Command (MAC) uses 3D printer to create durable solid 3D models of the city quickly and inexpensively. It took only 8 hours to print out an A4-sized 3D topographic map using obsolete maps as printing materials. The team has also improved printing precision from the previous 1.0 mm to present 0.1 mm.

Traditionally the same task takes weeks or more using sand tables. The new 3D printing technology produces models that are lightweight and easily transportable. The 3D printed map displays details of land, water, buildings and other topographic features in full color.

The research team says it is planning to use 3D printer to develop more 3D models for different operational areas. The highly detailed models help commanders to make good decisions and are of particular value in military applications, said an official of the Lanzhou MAC.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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612io wrote at 3/1/2014 10:42:15 PM:

But still, I can see the merits of a 'tactile' tactical map. In the end humans are tactile beings and VR could have it's difficulties in conveying certain info. Also: What if the maps need to be used in situations where there is no power available such ass in certain battlefields. VR won't do the trick then I guess.

AMnerd wrote at 2/26/2014 11:11:27 AM:

@jd90 You're right, but this also allows for adjusting the view personally. Virtual reality will solve this for digital models though

jd90 wrote at 2/23/2014 7:12:58 PM:

I would think a tablet or computer display with 3D rendering capability could render it instantly, and you can zoom in and out for detail & perspective, at will, and not wait eight hours for a print.

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