Miniature 3D Landscapes

Accessibility, Geography and Miniature 3D Landscapes


Joyce Lundberg has taught GEOG 1010 (Global Environmental Systems Principles) before, but this is her first year having a a totally blind student in her class.  This course in Physical Geography is a subject that is extremely visual. It is rare to Joyce to come to class without some physical aid.

Joyce is now  trying to find some tactile materials for the student to use.  She has searched on the web, thinking that surely, someone has made these already.

“Decades ago, we used to have gypsum models. I’m pretty sure that I saw these kinds of things as as studemt. I haven’t found any though, and I figured that it would be just quicker if I just make themselves myself out of clay.”


The models shown here are for her lecture on rivers.

“The one I’m holding is a flood plain, with a meandering river, levees to the side, an ox-bow lake and a cutoff meander and a yazoo stream, because the levees prevent it from reaching the main stream.”

Joyce came to the Discovery Centre to use the 3D scanners and printers.  The clay models are delicate, and break easily when handled.  3D plastic 3D prints of the clay models will be durable when handled by the student, and if she every gets other blind students, copies can simply be printed for them.


Joyce’s venture is another great successful collaboration with the Paul Menton Centre, who is paying for the 3D prints .  Jason Goveas of the Paul Mentor Centre is also experimenting with tactile diagrams for Joyce’s course.  Using a diagram of rivers printed in black,  Jason will photocopy the diagram using a toner that builds up in layers, becoming a tactile surface.  Braille labels will be added to the diagram to describe its features.

Congratulations to both Joyce Lundberg and Jason Goveas for contributing to the continuing accessibility of all our programs


Originally published by The Discovery Centre

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