Finally, postprandial storytelling gets its long overdue technology upgrade. Until now you’ve had a mere two dimensions—photos or Google Earth—to show where you winched some dude through Escalator to Hell in Moab, or the line you picked through Morocco’s Erg Chebbi. But if you upload the GPS data from your feats to Nice Trails of Barcelona, Spain, their 3D printers will construct a full-color replica of the terrain, your pioneering journey through miniature crevasses and hairline ridges marked in red. Voila, your off-road trophy shelf has the first of many showpieces.
Conceived by Oscar Ardaiz and Bernat Cuní as a memento for hikers, cyclists, and snowshoers, there’s no reason their works of topographical art can’t tell the story of your FJ80 on Bolivia’s Road of Death. To procure one, simply upload a GPX file from any popular GPS tracking application—or a phone, or a trail-sharing site. Nice Trails software culls geographical data to create a rotating, virtual 3D model for your approval. Two terrain styles are available: Satellite presents nature in more summer-like conditions, Winterland covers everything in white, with bluish hues used for shading. There’s even an enhancer if the landscape doesn’t look as challenging as you remember; move the slider up and all of the peaks head skyward. It can exaggerate the Earth enough to make the Grand Canyon look like a set piece from Prometheus.
The colored standstone mock-ups are hollow, with walls about three millimeters thick, and come in three sizes: Small is 1.97 inches on its longest side and sells for €49, Standard is 3.94 inches and runs €99, Big is 5.91 inches and costs €149. (About $54, $109, and $164, respectively.) Orders take two weeks to receive, and international shipping is included in the price.
Nice Trails offers suggestions on how to find or recreate trails you don’t have data for. Or if you simply want to memorialize a fetching piece of Earth, you can have one printed without the red tracking line. The company also sells some popular routes like the run up Mont Blanc and the hike to Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal.
We already know where this is going: once Virgin Galactic starts unloading tourists on the moon it won’t be long before someone picks up their Nice Trails trophy and starts in with, “So we’re winching up out of the Tycho crater in the lunar highlands on our way to the Ocean of Storms, right….”