3D Contour Map Reconstruction Project
In Memory of the work by the late Mr George Bramhall (1922-2016)
How It Began
It was April 2017 in Chilliwack, BC when Yong suddenly came out with the idea to seek project collaboration with the Chilliwack Museum and Archive on reconstruction of museum collections using 3D modeling and printing technology. Yong contacted the museum office to introduce himself and his idea to Mr Matthew Francis, the CEO at that time. Upon knowing Yong's intention, Matthew immediately expressed his interest to explore the opportunity and his first response was to show Yong of an artifact ( shown in the pictures below) that was donated by the late Mr George Bramhall few years ago. Matthew pointed at some damages on the 3D contour map to Yong and asked if there is anything they can do to restore the work. While thinking about the problem, Yong enjoyed the beautiful hand work of the artifact but he deeply felt sorry to see the pieces started disintegrating on many locations of the map. This is where Yong started putting his effort in search of a way to restore the artifact with the hope to keep the spirit of the original work of Mr Bramhall.
The Original Work
By The Late Mr George Bramhall
Disintegration And Damages
The Evaluation On Repairing The Original Artifact
Considering the initial suggestion by Matthew on the possibility of repairing the artifact utilizing 3D technology, Yong did a very closed-up look on the disintegrations. The amount of damages and delaminations throughout the map were too broad that it would take too much of work and cost to do the repairs. Yong suggested a more sensible approach would to do a reconstruction of the 3D model using latest 3D digital technology while resembling the original look of the original work piece. Matthew and his team were happy on Yong's proposal.
3D Contour Map Reconstruction
The Initial Research On 3D Contour Map Reconstruction
The first step was to study the original 3D contour map artifact thoroughly. Yong took as many photos as possible at all angles and noted down the disintegrations. This was followed by taking measurement of the overall dimensions, the heights of the mountains and thickness of the plywood sheets that stacked up to form the 3D contour, and identifying the locations of the map. Yong then started looking out for the coordinates that form the 3D contour map using Google map on internet.
The Journey in search of the Original Map
Yong started to notice a main problem when trying to reconstruct the 3D model map on computer because the version of the 2D contour map used by Mr Bramhall could not be found anywhere on internet resources and the details about the map were not mentioned anywhere on the original 3D contour map artifact. As there was no other record about the artifact with regards the map version, Yong was trying his luck during his visit at the Chilliwack Library searching through the collection fo printed maps they have, but none of them look like the map of the artifact. Yong then made a number of calls to other resources including the Natural Resources Canada and Vancouver Public Library but the officers was unable to locate the map I needed as they believed the map was too old and that they don't keep a copy now. After searching for about a month with disappointment, Yong received a great news from the Museum Archive itself on 1st of June that their archivist Tristan has found the map from their collection.
The map was identified to be Map MCE-147 produced in 1992 by the Mapping and Charting Establishment, Department of National Defense, Canada, also stated "CFB Chilliwack Series A702, MAP MCE 147".
With the map available, Yong was able to continue his work on overlaying the 2D map of MCE-147 onto the 3D contour he reconstructed from internet mapping resources. The modeling of 3D contour map overlaid on the MCE-147 is shown below.
Yong would like to sincerely express his gratitude to Mr Allan Gilbert, GIS Supervisor at the Information Technology Department, City of Chilliwack for offering his help on digital scan of MCE-147 map.
On June 2nd, 2017, Mr Gilbert helped Yong with the scan and conversion of MCE-147 Map into 200dpi and 300dpi digital map in PDF format. Miraculously, Mr Gilbert also happened to know that Fraser Valley Regional District at Cheam Ave has the original printed copies of MCE-147 and helped Yong obtained 3 of them and had kindly offered as donation to the project. Yong handed over one of the maps as donation to Chilliwack Museum and Archives on June 5th, 2017 and kept the other two copies for reconstruction of the 3D contour map.
Digital Scan of MCE-147 Map
Printed in 1992 by the Mapping and Charting Establishment, Department of National Defense, Canada,
"CFB Chilliwack Series A702, MAP MCE 147".
3D Contour Sample Making
The Making Of The Digital 3D Contour Map Sample
The sample making job was split into two major parts. The first part was the computer modeling of the 3D contour layers, and the second part was printing the contour layers. Since the 2D and 3D map data manipulation and construction are carried out fully in digital format, the 3D contour map made using this methodology is therefore referred to as Digital 3D Contour Map. A sample area of interest was selected for testing the newly developed methodology after many rounds of experiment. The general steps involved in the making include laser cutting of contour pieces from plywood, full color printing of the map and the final assembly of the contour pieces. The completed Digital 3D Contour Map is shown below.
Scalability For Future Projects
It was noted that the Digital 3D Contour Map made by the new digital 3D methodology gives an improved quality compared to the original 3D Contour Map which was fully hand-made. Another important aspect of the digital 3D methodology is that the 3D data can now be digitally stored and can later be converted into different formats such as dimension and appearance when making a new 3D Contour Map in the future.
What's Next ?
The Need For Funding To Complete The Work
Yong and his project partner, Mr Mephone Lee in Taiwan had so far voluntarily contributed the above initial works which include research, 3D printing experiments, and researching the right materials that took about 7 months from April to November in 2017. Yong received strong interest from Matthew Francis on continuing the project with funding from the museum. Unfortunately, the project had to put on-hold after Matthew Francis resigned his position as executive director of the Chilliwack Museum in July, 2017. Yong hopes the museum will be able to allocate funding for his team to continue the project so that the work can be completed.