I did buy a really cool raised relief map of Iceland

Bill's raised relief map of Iceland has arrived
Oct 062011

Two weeks ago I ordered a raised relief map of Iceland from an Icelandic Web site, hoping that it would a) arrive and b) be awesome. As of yesterday, the answers are a) yes and b) yes.

Wednesday morning, as I was sitting at my desk, still in pajamas but on the clock and working hard, I heard the mail truck coming through the neighborhood, and then the doorbell rang. Like a kid at Christmas I ran downstairs to sign for my delivery:

the box my map arrived in

I was reasonably sure it wasn’t dangerous, since it had been security screened by IGS (whoever that is):

detail of shipping labels

So I took it upstairs and opened it:

the map!

I know: it just looks like a map. But check it out up close:

map detail
map detail

It’s interesting how different the experience is, in comparison to looking at a two-dimensional map. It’s so much easier to see how constrained Iceland is geographically, and to understand how much that has affected the way the country has developed. Now I want 3-D maps of everything.

Sheep in Skeiðarársandur

The detail on the left above shows the Vatnajökull glacier and Skeiðarársandur, an enormous glacial outwash plain covered with volcanic sand washed down by glacial flooding. At right is a picture from that area from my visit to Iceland. You can find more pictures of the glacier here.


By the way, thanks to Skeiðarársandur, sandur (or sandr) is the term used in geography to describe such a glacial plain.  Iceland also gave us geyser, which is derived from Geysir, the name of a particular hot spring in Iceland. Geysir used to erupt regularly up until the mid-20th century, when either seismic changes or tourists throwing things in it trying to get it to go off caused it to stop performing. Now it’s just a steaming hole in the ground, but its name lives on.

In answer to the questions I raised at the end of my previous post:

  • The map is about 25½ x 17¾ inches, with a maximum height of about 3/8 inch.
  • It is not framed (next project!).
  • Totally worth it.

  3 Responses to “I did buy a really cool raised relief map of Iceland”

  1. Hi Bill,
    I great “thank you” to you, because due to your article I was able to buy the – indeed really cool – raised relief map of Iceland in that icelandic store. I also had to use a translation program to translate Icelandic into Dutch but it seemed to word to understand everything. I am from Belgium and going in march for the 4th time to Iceland, which is becoming my second fatherland haha. If you want to see some pics of a previous and other trips, be free to visit my photosite https://picasaweb.google.com/109032279438200011844
    Thanks again for the great recommendation on that map !!!
    John Van Marcke from Belgium

    • I’m glad to hear that my post was of use to someone. Thanks for leaving a note. I enjoyed looking at your pictures. Good luck with your trip in March–I’ll try to remember to go back and look at your pictures from the trip.

  2. YES, your posts are fun, informative, and useful. I’m soon leaving for my 4th trip to Iceland (on my way to the Faroes this time) and I’ll head straight to the bookstore you named for my very own raised relief map! Thank you!

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