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Laser cut layered topo map

Question asked by Shishona on Mar 4, 2020
Latest reply on Mar 4, 2020 by mmistry-esristaff

This is a multiple part question - I'm overwhelmed and would appreciate guidance on steps to take.  I am determined to figure this out and can read tutorials and teach myself but need pointed in the right direction.


I'm trying to create a layered topo map of the state of Idaho by laser cutting wood layers and putting them on top of each other.  Conceptually I know what I want to do but my GIS is very rusty from 20 years ago when I finished my Geology degree.  I'm trying to figure out how to use ArcGIS from the one training I had a few years ago.  I've chosen a base map but I would like to filter/narrow down the elevations shown in the map.  What suggestions would you have to go about doing this?  I'm working on a prototype first so would not have many layers. The prototype would be limited to 11.9" x 19" - so a small version.  I need to overlay rivers, highways and certain city locations from a list I have.


The final project will be about 56" high and mounted on the wall.  I've accepted my z-axis dimensions will not be to scale with my x,y dimensions.  I'd love to pull that off but I'm not sure if that will be possible.  The difference in elevations from the lowest point(710 ft) to highest point (12,668 ft) is 11,958 ft and I'll be using 1/8" baltic birch wood.  Idaho is 305.1 miles (1.611 million feet) across and 479.1 mi (2.53 million feet).  


For the final project, I'll need to split each layer into segments due to the size contraints of my laser.  I'll likely split the layer along rivers or highways.  This is easy to do in Inkscape and I'm not worried about this step.  My biggest challenge is figuring out the topography piece and getting it exported/saved from ArcGIS to a PDF, PNG/JPG, AI, or SVG file.


Perhaps ArcGIS isn't the right tool for this?  What other recommendations do you have?


Thank you for any feedback or insight you have on this project.  Cheers!  Shishona


p.s. Apparently I need to publish this in a place so I chose 3D Mapping Group.  Please let me know if you think this would be better in a different category.