My laser-cut topographic maps represent the terrain depicted in a pleasing, decorative and artistic form. Even after the hours spent straining my eyes designing and building a new map, I still can’t help but stop and stare at maps in our own home to learn or see something I hadn’t noticed before.
In addition to the technical data incorporated into my maps including elevations, prominent roads, creeks and rivers, I also add historical or factual information making my maps educational too!
I hope patrons and observers will enjoy gazing at my maps as much as I!
My topographic maps are personally drawn and designed in my home with my CAD (computer-aided design) program. Wood is prepared and treated, then laser-cut, assembled and framed in my work shop. Most of the frames for my flat maps are supplied from various local sources. Materials for the deeper frames required for my 3D maps are sourced from my uncle’s store The Framery and Gallery and assembled by me. It takes untold hours to design a 3D map and two or three days to build.
My laser-cut topographic maps begin as an idea. My wife Wendy and I enjoy kayaking and hiking in the wilderness that West Virginia has to offer. In our short time here, we’ve already hiked miles and kayaked for hours around the New River Gorge and Summersville Lake, hence the subjects of my first two maps.
Once the region to be mapped has been identified, it’s time to sit down at the computer and spend hours drawing and editing the contours that will eventually become the parts of the map. Drawings are also scaled to size depending on the thickness of the wood used to make the map. Prominent rivers and creeks are added along with significant roads, landmarks and interesting/informative text. Finally, it’s all broken down into smaller parts that the laser-cutter can accommodate. The design stage of laser-cut map making is the most tedious and time consuming!
Once all the CAD work is finished, it’s time to hit the work shop! Wood is sanded and stained as necessary to achieve the desired effect on my finished map.
Prepared wood sheets are then loaded into the laser-cutter for the magic to happen! It takes about forty-five minutes to cut one sheet — longer if there is text or other intricate detail work.
The parts begin to pile up, but it all comes together as I assemble them one-by-one.
My 3D maps with stacked contours require a special frame deep enough to handle the thickness of this type of map. Fortunately, my uncle Larry Pettinga owns his own store The Framery and Gallery in Trenton, Michigan where he offers his expertise and supplies me with proper, first-class frames, framing materials and glass.
Brannon Ritterbush keeps a variety of my topographic maps in stock at her Wild Art Wonderful Things gallery/gift shop in nearby Fayetteville, WV.
My laser-cut wood flat topographic maps are as described — maps on a single layer of wood. The river or lake is depicted by colored mat board underneath. In comparison to my 3D/layered topographic maps, the flat maps can be produced faster and use a conventional frame allowing for a lower price point. I can’t figure out why, but in-spite of their simplicity and smaller size, I still find these flat maps just as interesting and as beautiful as the much more complicated 3D maps.
This is a Special Edition of my Summersville Lake flat map; the frame is painted to match the lake. Price: $150.00
My laser-cut wood flat maps of the New River Gorge in the region of the New River Gorge bridge are presently offered in two sizes; this one in a 16” x 20” frame with glass. Each map is different than the previous and no two are alike as I change up river color, font type and art work. This one features a bridge jumper with parachute canopy open. Bridge Day is a once-a-year festival featuring B.A.S.E. jumpers who leap off the bridge, deploy their parachutes, then land in a clearing beside the New River. Price: $140.00
This 16” x 20” flat map of the New River Gorge features art of a B.A.S.E. jumper as viewed from the inner workings of the bridge just before his parachute has deployed. Price: $140.00
My latest New River Gorge flat map features new art work of a kayaker attacking the white water offered in the New River. Price: 140.00
Here’s another view of a Summersville Lake flat map, only with a standard, black frame. Price: $140.00
This edition of my New River Gorge flat map is in an 11” x 14” frame with glass for an even more economical price point. Smaller, but with all the same detail as the larger maps. Price: $100.00
My latest creation, the Rapids of the New River (the lower New if you want to get specific). It’s been fun searching for sources of the names and location of each raid learning about the rapids of this section of the river. 11” x 17” frame with glass. $100.00
Laser-cut wood 3D topographic maps
My laser-cut wood 3D/layered contour topographic maps are the “granddaddy” of maps. In 22” x 28” frames with glass, these maps feature multiple layers of stacked wood built to a scale that represents the actual elevation contours of the region depicted. Complicated, technical and time-consuming to build, the finished product is a genuine piece of art that will keep you captivated.
The first of my stacked contour, 3D topographic maps, this one depicts the New River in the region of the New River Gorge. Now on my 5th edition, this map is priced at $500.00.
My latest: NRG3D-6. This time, natural wood (clear polyurethane-coated) with a painted frame. $550.00
My Summersville Lake 3D maps feature the lake, the Gauley River and the Summersville Lake dam that created the lake in a 22” x 28” frame with glass. Price: $500.00
Here’s the second edition of my Summersville Lake 3D map. For this one I treated all the layers with the same coating for an all-natural appearance to the wood. Price: $500.00.
HOW TO PURCHASE
Currently, my laser-cut wood maps are available at Tamarack The Best of West Virginia here in my hometown of Beckley, WV and at Wild Art Wonderful Things in nearby Fayetteville, WV. But if you’d like to purchase a map from me directly and have custom preferences for river/lake color, frame color, art work (kayaker, parachuter, rafters), simply drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, contact me through my Synergy Aerial facebook page, or telephone me directly at 217 390-3155. I can usually build a flat map in a day or two and approximately one week for a 3D map. Due to the fragile nature of my maps I am not shipping at this time, but will gladly deliver in the Beckley area for free. If you’re further away other arrangements can be made. So let me know if there is a map I can make for you!
Aerial imagery (and rates)
Here you’ll see a sample of municipality, business, real estate and nature videos I’ve captured and produced.
When you open the video to view, be sure the Quality is set to 1080p (High Definition). Open the Quality menu by clicking on the icon of a gear with “HD” at the bottom of the video. Click “Quality,” then click “1080pHD” to set the video to the highest resolution.
Aerial photography rates:
$120.00 per-hour pro-rated to the minute (including both travel time and on-location time).
Any aerial photography job under 1 hour travel time: $250.00
Any aerial photography job over 1 hour travel time: $350.00
Jobs are contingent upon any FAA airspace restrictions that may pre present in the area (due to the proximity of airports, schools, prisons, etc.). This can be checked immediately and instant authorization can be granted if available.
Video editing rates:
Rates vary depending on the job
Beaver, West Virginia
This one’s for Dave Sibray at West Virginia Explorer. Visit wvexplorer.com.
Mabscott, West Virginia
New River Tech Expo 2018
Alfred Beckley Grist Mill II
135 Valinda Street
When the video opens, don’t forget to click on the Settings icon and make sure the Quality is the highest (1080p).
34 Kinglet Place V2
1103 Maxwell Hill Road
Contact me with inquires about custom laser-cut topographic maps, map availability, drone missions or any other questions: