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The Beauty of Topographic Maps

In a world that is focused heavily on social media and digital interactions, there is something captivating about the tangible beauty of topographic maps. These intricate works of art not only serve as navigational tools but also provide us with a deeper understanding and appreciation of our natural surroundings.

Wood Chart, a leading purveyor of topographic maps in wood, has mastered the art of transforming these maps into stunning pieces that seamlessly blend artistry and functionality. In this blog post, we will explore the allure of topographic maps and how our artists bring them to life, especially in our mesmerizing lake maps.

The Magic of Topographic Maps

Hawaii, The Big Island, Framed Nautical Wood Map

Topographic maps are much more than geographical representations of our favorite locations; they are portals to adventure and wonder. These maps depict the physical features of an area, showcasing its elevation, contours, landforms, and water bodies. By studying a topographic map, we can visualize the peaks, valleys, rivers, oceans, and lakes and immerse ourselves in the intricacies of the land.

Wood maps are a fantastic way to admire the beauty of landscapes you love. In regions that are densely populated with bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes region of Michigan or the islands of the Florida Keys, so much of the intrigue is about what lies beneath the surface. The change in underwater elevation is something you can only see with topographic lake maps, which is another reason we love the versatility of these pieces.

How Are Topographic Wood Maps Made?

Let’s take a closer look at how our wood maps are made. At Wood Chart, each of our lake maps begins with a bathymetric chart. This type of survey is for water what a topographic map is on land. Once we have the map of the area we are creating, we use laser cutters to delicately carve sheets of high-grade birch into layers depicting each level of the ocean or lake map.

Underwater layers are hand-stained in turquoise blue-green to distinguish between the land and the surrounding water. Each layer of wood is then glued together, creating the unique depth and beauty that you know and love about these wood maps. Our artists then etch major landmarks into the topographic map before adding a durable, ultra-transparent acrylic sheet and a custom wood frame.

Connecting with Nature Through Topographic Maps

Lake Michigan Map Wood Cribbage Board

One of our favorite aspects of wood maps is their ability to remind us of the profound connection between humans and nature. Topographic maps encourage us to step outside and experience the beauty of mother nature and the world around us, providing a sense of excitement and inspiration. As we trace the contours and explore the details, we can mentally transport ourselves back to our favorite lakes, oceans, mountain ranges, and more.  

How to Decorate with Wood Maps

In addition to their sentimental value, wood topographic maps serve as unique and captivating décor pieces. Whether displayed in homes, offices, or cabins, they evoke a sense of wanderlust and admiration. These maps become conversation starters, sparking curiosity, like the desire to learn something new about the Great Lakes, as well as a longing to explore new landscapes. With their natural textures and distinctive designs, wood maps become focal points seamlessly blending with various interior styles.

Nautical Wood Map of Ireland

Hanging wood maps in your home or office or adding a unique accent tray with a topographic map is also a great way to create a centerpiece of your favorite outdoor memories. Select a map of a location you love, like your favorite Hawaiian island or Ireland, where you have fond memories, and then hang it somewhere special. Use your favorite photos of the location and place them around the map and add new snapshots as you take them.

You can also use smaller lake maps and other topographic maps to create wall art of several locations to pay tribute to your travels and adventures. In addition to selections from across the US, Wood Chart also has maps featuring international locations such as Antigua, Ireland, and Italy.

The Artistry of Wood Maps

While topographic maps in their conventional form are informative, our designs take them to an entirely new level of aesthetic appeal. By crafting these maps from birch wood, we infuse a touch of warmth, character, and artistry into each piece. The rich grain patterns and natural colors of the wood serve as a backdrop for the intricate laser-engraved topographic lines and details, transforming the maps into exquisite works of art. 

Mesmerizing Lake Maps

Lake Tahoe Wood Chart Framed Map

Among the various types of topographic maps, lake maps hold a special place in our hearts. They allow us to dive into the serenity of our favorite lakes and rivers, reliving memories and dreaming of future adventures. Our lake maps bring these aquatic landscapes to life, capturing the essence and flow of these locations in stunning detail. From the intricate shoreline to the depths of the lakebed, every contour is meticulously etched into the wood, revealing the hidden beauty of these cherished destinations. 

Topographic Maps as Gifts

Surprise someone you love with an unforgettable topographic map gift. Whether celebrating a milestone, commemorating a special occasion, or simply showing appreciation for someone's love of nature, these maps are bound to delight the recipients. By selecting a map of a cherished lake or a favorite vacationing spot, you offer not only a beautiful piece of art but also a tangible symbol of shared experiences and memories.

Top 5 Occasions for Gifting a Wood Map:

  1. Birthdays
  2. Anniversaries
  3. Graduations
  4. Weddings
  5. Just because

Other Types of Wood Charts

For those who enjoy entertaining or want to add a more unique look to the already-intriguing style of these wood maps, many of our locations are also available as:

  • Wall clocks
  • Cribbage boards
  • Serving trays

Our handled serving trays are an excellent gift for anyone who loves to entertain. They can be used for carrying drinks or appetizers and can also be displayed as wall art when not in use. We know you’ll find the right wood serving tray to suit your functional-art needs with our wide selection.

Martha's Vineyard Map Clock

If you enjoy game nights or want something fun to display in your living room or home office, our lake maps that have been turned into cribbage boards and wood wall clocks are a great choice. Measuring 12" in diameter, the clocks are a fun and creative way to add a fun and functional element to your home décor, while family game nights have never been more fun than with our location cribbage boards!

Topographic maps are the windows through which we glimpse the majesty of nature. The Wood Chart team has masterfully elevated these maps into breathtaking art pieces, blending the precision of cartography with the warmth of natural wood. With the lake maps, they bring the tranquility and allure of aquatic landscapes into our living spaces, reminding us of the wonders waiting to be explored. Whether you’re searching for gifts for a traveler or looking for a way to decorate your home with memories of your adventures, topographic wood maps are a beautiful choice.


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