Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do you recommend framing a Summit 3D map?
  2. How do I clean my map?
  3. What if my map gets scratched?
  4. How is my map shipped to me?
  5. What if my map is damaged during shipment?
  6. How should I display my map?
  7. What is a digital elevation model (DEM)?
  8. What is a high-resolution satellite image?
  9. How large of maps can Summit make?
  10. How much relief can Summit create on a map?
  11. What scales can be used on Summit maps?
  12. What is vertical exaggeration?
  13. How much does a custom raised-relief map cost?
  14. Other Questions?

Answers...

  1. How do you recommend framing a Summit 3D map?

    As you can see on the website, we offer several framing choices at very reasonable prices and framed maps are delivered ready to hang, with all hardware in place. But Summit maps look great in all kinds of frames and we’re happy to explain the best way to frame your map yourself. We suggest that you do not buy your frame until you have mounted and trimmed your map, so that you can measure it for an exact fit.

    Please note: Because Summit uses a custom-fit frame for each map, we can’t simply send you framing materials after you purchase an unframed map; the mounted map needs to be trimmed to the exact size of the individual frame. We can’t guarantee that the frame would fit a map we didn’t mount ourselves.

    If you’re going to frame your own map, you’ll want to start by mounting it on a piece of foamboard (available from framing and art supplies shops). For maps with large flat ocean areas, we recommend adhesive-faced foamboard. For maps that don't have large flat areas, you can use regular non-adhesive foamboard.

    When using adhesive-faced foamboard, center the map over the exposed adhesive surface and start by placing one edge of the map down on the adhesive surface. Then slowly lay down the rest of the map, being careful not to trap air under the flat surfaces (the ocean surface, in particular). Using your hands – covered with a clean cloth or wearing cotton gloves – press the map down to the board until it is firmly adhered to the surface and no air pockets are visible under the flat areas. Gently press any small bubbles out by smoothing the map surface and pushing the bubble out to the nearest edge. Be careful not to scratch or abrade the map doing this.

    For non-adhesive-faced foamboard, center the map on the board and trace around the map with a pencil to mark where the edges of the map will sit. Place double-stick mounting tape all around just inside your pencil line. Take care to avoid wrinkles or overlaps in the tape, which can look lumpy underneath the map margins. If your map has a large flat area (such as on the White Mountains map) use rows of double-stick tape to be sure that area stays adhered to the foamboard. Line up the map with your pencil outline and press the map boarder/margin area securely to the tape.

    Using a razor knife and straight-edge, carefully trim the foamboard to the edge of the map. Measure the mounted map and purchase a frame to fit those exact dimensions. (We’ve seen good results from places like frames.com, but there are many online choices.)

    If you take your map someplace to be framed, be sure they mount it on foamboard as described here; mounting the map isn’t difficult but is critical to a good result.

    Finally, install the mounted map in the frame of your choice using the hardware provided with the frame, or use very small nails/brads to hold the foamboard in place. Attach the hanging hardware and corner bumpers that should come with your frame kit.

    If your map looks spectacular in its new frame, email a photo to info@summitmaps.com and we’ll post it on our Facebook page!

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  2. How do I clean my map?

    Being exposed to the room environment, your raised-relief map might collect dust over time. You can gently clean it with a soft brush, clean cloth, or paper towel. You may also use a slightly water-dampened soft cloth or paper towel. Do not use excessive water when cleaning. Also do not use cleaning solutions or detergents – these may attack the ink and damage your map.

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  3. What if my map gets scratched?

    As with any printed poster or photo, the map can be scratched or abraided if mishandled. If the map is scratched, we suggest finding a felt-tipped marker pen (SharpieTM, or similar) with a similar color and simply marking over the scratch. This usually works very well to effectively hide the scratch.

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  4. How is my map shipped to me?

    Each Summit map is packaged in a protective clear poly sleeve to protect the surface from abrasion and damage during shipping and handling. Then the map is placed in flat cardboard box with cushioning material to keep the map secure during shipment (typically FedEx or USPS). Each box with framed maps is marked "fragile" to help prevent shipping damage. Your map should arrive safe and damage-free. But if you see damage from shipping, please contact our customer service department right away for help.

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  5. What if my map is damaged during shipment?

    Summit takes great care to package each map for safe shipment to you. However, accidents can happen. If a box arrives that shows signs of damage, and the map is in fact damaged, please contact our customer service department immediately and we’ll work with you to get a replacement map to you.

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  6. How should I display my map?

    Summit 3D maps are normally mounted to a wall for display. This can be as simply as tacking it to a bulletin board, or mounting in a high-quality frame. If framed, the map should first be mounted on foamboard to stabilize it, and then framed as desired. Any professional frame shop should be able to frame a Summit Map. Summit optionally offers each of our 3D maps mounted and framed using a high-quality modern black anodized aluminum molding or a natural-oak or black-oak finish wood molding.Some of our customers even display their maps horizontally -- sometime under glass, as in a glass-topped coffee table.

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  7. What is a digital elevation model (DEM)?

    A DEM is a 3-dimensional model of the surface of the earth. The model consists of a large array of data points defined by x, y, and z (elevation). DEMs are available for much of the earth’s surface. DEMs of most of the US are available with 30-meter resolution, and higher resolution is available in some areas. Summit uses these DEMs to generate the terrain tools for molding the 3D maps.

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  8. What is a high-resolution satellite image?

    Numerous earth observing satellites now orbit our planet and generate a tremendous amount of imagery. This imagery ranges from sub-meter resolution to 100-meter or greater. High-resolution imagery normally refers to those images with individual pixels of 15 meters or less across. Summit picks satellite imagery for its maps based on the specific scale and project requirements. 15-meter imagery is commonly used, but sometimes higher or lower resolution is used based on the map scale.

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  9. How large of maps can Summit make?

    Summit’s printing and thermoforming capabilities allow for single-panel maps up to 50”x 35” (3D model area) in size and 3 – 4” of vertical relief. Larger models can be constructed using multiple panels that join together to form the complete display. The maps can optionally be mounted, framed, foam-filled for rigidity, and have special coatings applied.

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  10. How much relief can Summit create on a map?

    Most raised-relief maps have about 0.5” to 2” of vertical relief. This is sufficient to clearly show the 3D nature of the earth surface. However, we can create maps with up to 4" of vertical relief if needed for modeling the terrain.

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  11. What scales can be used on Summit maps?

    Summit can create 3D raised-relief maps using any map scale needed for a given project. Most maps are created with scales ranging from 1:10,000 to 1:1,000,000. However, we can also go to very small or very large scales for special projects.

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  12. What is vertical exaggeration?

    The vertical scale is often adjusted on raised-relief maps to better show the terrain features. This makes visual interpretation easier for the user. Exaggerations of 2 to 5 are common on these maps. Very large scale maps (small areas) might have no exaggeration, however. The vertical exaggeration/scale is usually stated on Summit maps, along with the horizontal scale.

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  13. How much does a custom raised-relief map cost?

    The overall cost of a custom 3D map is determined by three factors: size, quantity, and the amount of graphics work required.

    For example, a 30”x 20” custom raised-relief map normally costs about $5,000 for the upfront design, data, and tooling, with additional investment required if there’s a lot of graphics development work involved.  Once the initial map is created, we can produce copies of that 30”x 20”map for a cost of about $45 (even less if you order higher quantities).  

    Larger maps, naturally, cost more. Once you provide details on your area of interest, the information you’ll need incorporated, and the preferred size format, we’ll put together a firm quote for your custom map project. Please contact Mike Higgins at 304-274-0978 for more information.

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  14. Other Questions?

    If you have other questions, please contact customerservice@summitmaps.com or call 304-274-0978.

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