I wanted to try my hand at creating 3D elevation models and thought trying to model some of the popular (and some of my favorite) national parks would be a good starting point.
Once a 3D elevation model is selected and shown you can manipulated it in multiple ways:
You can select a number of different parks from the drop down menu. If you have suggestions for additional parks, I may be able to add them to the list.
Note: the elevation files are data intensive since the visualization is downloading the elevation across in some cases, many hundreds or thousands of square miles. To keep the data needs down, I’ve reduced the resolution of the elevation data. Though the original data is 90 meter resolution (elevation is specified across every 90 x 90 m square in each park, I’ve averaged these squares together so that each park model only has about tens of thousands of these squares, regardless of the actual area of the park. This improves data loading and rendering times and makes the improves the responsiveness of the model.
Sources and Tools:
This map divides up the Continental United States into different regions depending on which National Park (or other National Park Service site) is closest to it. It is based on a straight-line (‘as the crow flies’) distance between locations rather than along road networks. It is an example of a Voronoi Diagram, which is subdivided into different regions based upon the distance between points of interest. Everything within a subregion is closer to the point defining the region than any other point.
Hover over the circle points to see the name of the park. The map has a dropdown menu that lets you choose between the following types of locations in the National Park Service:
For National Parks, there is a high concentration of National Parks in the Western US, especially around the Southwestern US and running up the Pacific Coast. As a result, in these areas, the Voronoi regions are fairly small. The Southwest is also home to a high concentration of National Monuments. There are only few parks in the Eastern US and so the Voronoi regions are correspondingly large. Looking at National Historic Sites, the situation is flipped somewhat, with a high concentration of historic sites in the eastern US, and specifically the Northeast.
Let me know in the comments which park you are closest to and which park you last visited.
Tools and Data Sources