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Custom Raised-Relief Maps

Custom Raised-Relief Maps
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Custom 3D Maps for Your Unique Application

When a Summit off-the-shelf raised-relief map doesn’t cover your area of interest, we will work with you to create a new custom map. In fact, custom projects are among our favorites because they allow us to design exclusive maps with exactly the area, information, and level of detail/annotation the customer wants, often including logos and other specialized graphics.

Who Uses Custom Maps?

While we occasionally map private properties for individual landowners (e.g. large ranches), most of our custom map work has been done for government, associations, and commercial organizations, which often need affordable multiples of their unique maps. 3D maps make interpretation of topography much easier, particularly for areas with dramatic terrain shape. So they’re perfect for classroom and field training, information centers, museums, conference rooms, reception areas… Here’s partial list of recent custom map projects:

* US National Park Service (maps of 5 AK national parks)

* The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (map of entire Appalachian Trail)

* US Army Geospatial Center (maps of US bases and overseas operating areas)

* US Marine Corps (map of Quantico OCS)

* Allan Cartography (map of private ranch)

* Fugro EarthData (map of Denali/Mt McKinley)

* San Diego Gas & Electric (map of corporate operating districts)

* US Navy Facilities Command Hawaii (maps of Oahu facilities)

* Dry Creek Valley AVA (map of local wine growing region)

* Upper Merced River Watershed Council (map of Merced River Watershed)

* Harvard Museums of Science and Culture (map of Arctic Circle, including topography and bathymetry) .

The Basics
  • - Summit can convert any existing satellite/aerial image or traditional reference or thematic 2D map to a stunning 3D raised-relief map. You can provide the imagery or base map, or Summit can source or develop it from scratch.
  • - We will geographically match the image or map to an accurate digital elevation model (DEM). The vertical scaling can be adjusted to exaggerate the terrain relief height for effective interpretation.
  • - The resulting terrain elevation model is then used to generate the tooling for the 3D print/molding process.
  • - We digitally print your map image on a rigid plastic film and carefully vacuum-thermoform mold it to the precise terrain shape.
  • - Our process creates raised-relief maps with a molded 3D area up to 52" x 35" in size, with up to 3" of vertical relief or more, and an overall trim size of up to 53" x 38". Even larger maps can be created using tiling. We’ll work with you to select the size, format, scale, and other specifics to create an effective 3D map for your application. Our three most common size formats are 30” x 20”, 40” x 30”, and 50” x 35”.
  • - We can also optionally mount and frame the maps, and apply special coatings – such as a dry-erase-marker compatible clear coating.


As in printing, the majority of the cost is in creating the first product, and subsequent copies are relatively inexpensive. The initial cost for a 30” x 20” Summit custom map is generally between $4000 and $6000, depending on the amount of data acquisition and graphics work required. The initial effort includes the design, data processing, terrain mold construction, and a first prototype map. Larger maps have a higher nonrecurring cost. Once this initial investment is made, Summit can then make any number of maps (from a few to hundreds) for as little as $25 each, depending on the map size and quantity ordered.

What’s the Next Step?

Please call Michael Higgins at 304-274-0978 or email Once we have the details of your custom map idea, we'll provide a firm price quote for your project. In some cases, Summit will choose to co-invest in a map project that might have wide public appeal, reducing your up-front cost.