3D Mapping MD

Inspired by the We The Builders project, Casey Kirk from the Maryland State Department of Education reached out to us with a concept for a similar project.  She wanted to create a topographical map of Maryland with pieces contributed from students from each county.

How It Was Done

This project was split into two main parts: logistics and technical pieces.

Logistics

Casey launched into action by contacting schools and youth organizations in Maryland’s 24 counties (including Baltimore City) to find who had 3D printing capabilities. She then compiled a list of contacts and revealed to all the strategy to have each county printed by a different organization. More details developed over time, but the initial plan was relatively simple. Each county would be printed in a specific color and then mailed to DHF for an assembly by youth on Digital Learning Day.

Excitedly, the Governor’s office showed interest in the project. A plan was hatched to assemble the project at his office. Casey and Val from MSDE took on the task of handling all of the logistics so that DHF could focus on the technical aspects.

Technicals

Using Maryland’s Mapping and GIS Data Portal, I was able to get Digital Elevation Models (DEM) of each of the counties. DEMs are grayscaled images where the white sections represent higher areas of elevation, and the darker areas are lower elevations.

Once I had a DEM for all of the counties, I then went to work converting them to 3D. I created a spreadsheet to help determine what scale could be used for the map. Maryland has everything from beaches to mountains making it a dynamic range of topography. Making it all fit on a reasonably sized map was challenging. It’s not perfect, and I would have tried to use a more universal scale next time, but I ended up using a different proportion for the height than I did for the length/width.

After I had my scale, I started converting the files into 3D. This conversion was made easy by the tool Simplify3D. Simplify3D has an add-in specifically meant to convert elevation image maps to 3D. One just needs to load the PNG and set the dimensions of the 3D model.

 

 

That was a great start. Then I loaded each model into Meshmixer to clean up the edges.

After all the files were cleaned up and ready to go, Casey kicked back into action and started to share the data. Initially, we used Google Drive to share the files but then immediately found out a few school districts in Maryland don’t allow teachers to use Google Drive. As an alternative, we switched to using Dropbox to share the files. Everyone now had access to all the county files in case they wanted to print their own version of the map.

Reflection

The project was a lot of fun. Working with Casey and MSDE is something that I love to do. They are extraordinarily innovative and are immensely motivated to bring making to Maryland schools and youth. Being part of a team where we each person contributes a different skill set was great.

If I were to do this again, one difference I would make is to form the horizontal and vertical scales a little more similar. The difference between these axes was very noticeable and one of the first things people noticed.

The event at the Governor’s office was outstanding. Seeing all of the youth from across the state come together to build the map was inspirational.

Traditionally schools have been bounded by physical walls, and a group project meant working only with people in the same room. The Internet has changed this, making our project an exploration of a collaborative strategy that is not limited by physical location. This is also the way that companies in the tech industry act today through tools like Google Docs, GitHub, and Skype.

The industries of the future will demand that our students have the ability and agility to do this type of work on a consistent basis. At the Digital Harbor Foundation, we are an agile research and development organization focused on what the future of education will look like and solve tomorrow’s problems today.

Announcing IAP 3D Printer Recipients

We were overwhelmed by the responses to the Innovation Access Program, and were inspired by the many innovative ideas that you submitted for how you would use the printer with your youth.  We are excited to announce that we will be awarding a PrintrBot Simple 3D Printer and associated training to the 48 educators listed below. Even if you don’t see your name, we would still love to work with you – keep reading at the bottom of the page to find out how we can bring your 3D Printing plans to fruition.

First Last State
Georgia Tompkins Alaska
Danielle LoPresti Arizona
Rachel Galliani California
Heidi Ragsdale Colorado
Crystal Caouette Connecticut
Katelynn Scott Delaware
Kimberlynn  Jurkowski DC
Mary Fish Florida
Misty Nemeth Georgia
Jayson Reynon Hawaii
Kalynda Pearce Idaho
Gretchen Brinza Illinois
Jessica Suri Indiana
Alyssa Calhoun Iowa
Katie Don Carlos Kansas
Jason Hurst Kentucky
Karen Bean Louisiana
Carrie Emerson Maine
Tracy Hodge Maryland
Jenny Kostka Massachusetts
Chance Kemp Michigan
Jennifer Klecatsky Minnesota
Angela Johnson Mississippi
Gary Duncan Missouri
Stephanie DeBiasio Montana
Gwynette Williams Nebraska
Jillian Welch Nevada
Douglas Stith New Hampshire
Holly Rebovich New Jersey
Daniel de Leon New Mexico
Deborah Kravchuk New York
Deborah Dreyer North Carolina
Shannon Blomker North Dakota
Jennifer Haag Ohio
Bobby Reed Oklahoma
Carrie Carden Oregon
Brad Gentile Pennsylvania
Corey Lennon Rhode Island
Susan Merrill South Carolina
Joanna Law Tennessee
Deborah Cuellar Texas
Deborah Draper Utah
Jack Adams Vermont
vonita foster Virginia
Jessie Adkins Washington
Luke Hladek West Virginia
Becky Nutt Wisconsin
Alleta Baltes Wyoming

I’m getting a 3D Printer! What do I do now?

Tell a friend, tell your students, tell the world – and then sit tight. We’ll be getting in touch regarding the dates of our upcoming workshops as well as coordinating if we can run a workshop in your area.

I wasn’t selected 🙁 What now?

We still want to work with you 🙂 ! If you are able to travel to our Tech Center in Baltimore, we’ve got a 3D Printing workshop (printer included) this December! Check scheduled workshops here. If you can’t make it to Baltimore – we can try coming to you! To do a workshop in your area we need a hosting organization in which to run the workshop, a sponsoring organization to help fund it, and at least ten participants. Past hosts & funders have included State Science/STEM Action Centers, specific school districts, local foundations or organizations, and makerspaces. If you think you may know anyone who fits into the three categories listed above, please take a minute to complete this form and we’ll be in touch.

Thank you again for your participation! As you continue to make with your youth, feel free to check out the free resources on our Blueprint website, and if you want to receive periodic updates on making with youth, sign up for our Maker Educator Newsletter at dhf.io/nws. Finally, we hope to be able to run this program again in coming years, so keep in touch via any of social media channels displayed on the tool bar on the right side of this page.

FabSLAM Goes to Idaho

A few weeks ago, Shawn, Jen, and I traveled to Boise, Idaho to kickoff FabSLAM as part of our national expansion of the program this year. We traveled to Boise to deliver our 3D Printing for Educators workshop to train the Coaches who will be leading teams for FabSLAM in Idaho.

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We had the opportunity to work with 22 educators from 15 different schools and organizations from all over the state, and had a wonderful time! These were some of the most enthusiastic educators we have worked with and extremely warm and welcoming.

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Photo by Otto Kitsinger for Idaho STEM Action Center

Over the course of three days, participants learned all about how to use their 3D printers issued as part of the workshop, design their own objects to be printed, and search Thingiverse for inspiration and interest-generating prints to take back and share with their students. One of our favorite designs from the workshop was for one of the design challenges during the workshop – a mini documentation station for an iPhone made by C. Boothby.

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This was a great group of educators who really worked to bring their ideas to life and enjoyed themselves during the workshop. We were very excited to teach them all about FabSLAM and share everything we have learned to help them successfully bring this program to Idaho. We have never “taught” FabSLAM before to anyone, and it was very energizing and inspiring to work with such a receptive group of educators who are thrilled to launch this program with their youth.

A very special Thank You to Erica and Angela at the Idaho STEM Action Center who worked to bring FabSLAM to Idaho this year, and Jessica and Diana from Discovery Center Idaho for hosting our workshop all week! We fell in love with Boise and thoroughly enjoyed our time working with you and your educators!

Read more about this workshop in this article: Idaho’s STEM Helps 15 Schools Get 3D Printers

Educators – Learn to 3D Print in the New Year

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We are excited to kick off the new year with our 3D Printing for Educators workshop as our first workshop offering of 2016!

Our 4-day workshop will take place Friday January 22 – Saturday January 23, and Friday January 29 – Saturday January 30 and we are looking for more educators to join us! The 3D Printing for Educators workshop will prepare formal and informal educators to get started with 3D printing in their learning space. We will cover the technical skills needed to use and maintain your 3D printer, the software used for 3D designing and printer control, as well as activities and ideas for integrating 3D printing into your program. Every participant in the workshop will receive a 3D Printing Starter Kit, which includes a Printrbot Simple 3D Printer and mini tool kit.

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With the help of our 3D Assistance team here at the Tech Center, all workshop participants will have a reliable support group to help with any issues with their 3D Printer during the workshop. This amazing group has been recognized as the first off-site support provider for Printrbot by the company themselves! You can read more about that here: Announcing 3D Assistance

Again, this workshop is intended for educators who work in many learning spaces. Previous participants have included librarians & media specialists, K-12 classroom teachers, and afterschool program providers.

To learn more about the workshop and get all of the details, visit our 3D Printing for Educators workshop page.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at contact@digitalharbor.org. We hope to see you at our next workshop!

Summer 2015 3D Printing Educator Workshops

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As we head into summer, we are preparing our offerings for educators and have a full calendar of technical and maker workshops open.  Are you an educator with an interest in 3D Printing? If your answer is “Yes!”, you won’t want to miss out on our upcoming 3D Printing for Educators Workshop in July & August 2015.

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This 4-day training will prepare educators of many types to get started with 3D printing in their learning space. We will cover the technical skills needed to use and maintain your 3D printer, the software used for 3D designing and printer control, as well as activities and ideas for integrating 3D printing into your program. Every participant in the workshop will receive a 3D Printing Starter Kit, which includes a Printrbot Simple 3D Printer and mini tool kit.

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With the help of our 3D Assistance team here at the Tech Center, all workshop participants will have a reliable support group to help with any issues with their 3D Printer during the workshop.

Again, this workshop is intended for educators who work in many learning spaces. Previous participants have included librarians & media specialists, K-12 classroom teachers, and afterschool program providers.

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To learn more about the workshop and get all of the details, visit our 3D Printing for Educators workshop page. You can also read our recap post from the March 2015 workshop and check out our Flickr album for the workshop.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at contact@digitalharbor.org. We hope to see you at our next workshop!

Local Educators Learn to 3D Print

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Our 3D Printing for Educators Workshop in March was such a success, thank you for all who participated. The 3D Printing for Educators workshop is a multi-day training course, where educators are given the resources, tools, and hands-on training of 3D Design & Printing to bring back to their learning space.

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At this workshop we had our first round of Perpetual Innovation Fund participants (10 educators total) and first ever 3D Assistance (Adam, Amiri, Darius, & Samuel) to help assist the workshop. Shawn and Steph Grimes, who facilitated the workshop, knocked it out of the ballpark, both giving excellent advice about working with youth to ensure excitement for designing and printing.

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We started with introductions, then quickly dove right into unboxing everyone’s Printrbot Simple 3D Printers. All our workshops come with a starter kit to ensure you have the right tools for success and this workshop comes with a 3D printer for each participant. The unique and exciting part is each educator has the opportunity to troubleshoot the printer, so they learn how to calibrate, learn fundamentals of 3D Design, and practice printing throughout the whole workshop.

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If you missed out on the March 3D printing workshop, don’t worry, we will be hosting another workshop in July. To find out more information, you can visit this page: Summer 2015 3D Printing for Educator Workshops. If you have any questions, you can email us at contact@digitalharbor.org.