Shaded Relief Map FAQs


What goes into making a shaded relief map?

Making a shaded relief map from a vintage map is a multi-step process that involves restoration, color correction, and digital shading. The shading being the most important component of a shaded relief map. This is what makes the landscape appear to jump off the page.

Are the shaded relief maps 3D printed?

Our shaded relief maps are printed on 2D Fine Art Premium Photo Paper or Stretched Canvas. All prints sold on East of Nowhere are 2D, which means they are flat to the touch. 

But they really look 3D!

We take that as a compliment, thank you! The shading technique we use creates an incredibly realistic illusion of a 3D landscape. Even in print, it will appear 3D on your wall.

Why are there shadows on the margins of the map?

This particular shading technique creates the illusion that the map area is elevated relative to the rest of the paper. To do this, shadows are cast both within the map space and on the margins of the map area. These margin shadows are critical, without them the map would look flat and unnatural.

Because the shadows are created with a digitally rendered "sunlight" there are also highlights that pair with the shadows, found on the opposite side. In most cases, we cast a digital "sunlight" from the northwest, so the top and left side margins will have highlights while the bottom and right side will have shadows.


Are the small labels and text legible in print?

Although the shading of vintage maps creates a brilliant piece of visual art, it can interfere with the text on the map itself. Especially in heavily shaded areas, the text may no longer be legible. These maps look stunning in wall art settings, framed or unframed, but are not intended to be used as a reference or browsed at close range as you would an atlas or digital map.

Could you print these in 3D?

We really wish 3D printing technology could handle such detailed and multi-color prints as the ones we design. But our Premium Photo Paper and Stretched Canvas options are stunning regardless. 

What about the raised relief maps I remember from grade school?

The plastic raised relief maps we all remember from our childhood were incredible teaching tools, and have made a lasting impression. However, these maps have been out of production since the 1990s and furthermore would not make for fine wall art. 

Where can I learn more about this all?

Wikipedia has an excellent article on Terrain Cartography, a great starting point for those looking to learn about the subject:

This is all a bit complicated, I am looking for something simpler...

No problem, check out our Vintage Topographic Maps Collection!


General FAQs


How long until I receive my order?

Each product is printed on demand and fulfillment times will vary. Typically, orders will arrive within 5-7 days with longer wait times occurring during the holiday season (November and December). During the holidays, there will be clearly advertised deadlines to ensure your product arrives on time. Please read our update about the affect of COVID-19 on production and shipping timetables.

Can I order a custom map?

Custom work is available upon request. Reach out via the Contact Page for a quote and include the following information regarding your map request: location, print material (e.g. poster), print size, orientation (vertical or horizontal), and any other specifics needed to evaluate the request. Please view our current product pages to get an idea of available sizes and base prices.

Do you have wholesale availability?

Some prints are available for wholesale orders. Reach out via the Contact Page for a quote.

Why is there an anachronism on my vintage map?

The date printed on the Vintage Topographic maps is an approximate date that reflects the original publication. Sometimes, old maps are reprinted and small changes are made (e.g. addition of an airport) that don't fit the time period of the original publication. Additionally, in the mosaic process, multiple maps are brought together that may have been published at slightly different times. If you are interested in more technical information about the historic topo maps, reach out by email and I will answer any questions.

My order arrived, but is damaged, what next?

On rare occasions, a product will sustain damage in transit. If this occurs, send a photograph of the damaged product via email and you will receive a replacement at no charge.

The print on my order appears to be misaligned, what next?

If your order does not match the images from the product page (e.g. the print is misaligned or off-center), send a photograph of the product via email and you will receive a replacement at no charge.