Topographic map of Virginia created with a fabulous tutorial by @anoved
Creating height maps of large regions. http://anoved.net/2015/09/creating-heightmaps-of-large-regions/
Model was requested several years ago by an elementary teacher for use as a classroom manipulative. I could not find a method at the time to fulfill her request. Tweeted a call for assistance and @anoved stepped up with a tutorial. (I cheated and just used his heightmap photo rather than creating my own.)
The base of the model has been thickened for printability and the z-height has been exaggerated for impact as a learning tool. A remix with an accurate z-height scale would be valuable to the community.
Copy of the map has also been given to a local teacher of the visually impaired.
If you would like to print a map of a smaller rectangular region then check out the following easy to use website. http://jthatch.com/terrain2stl/
If you have suggestions for an easier method for creating topographic/height maps of large regions, please leave a comment or contact me on Twitter @DesignMakeTeach
Remix in Tinkercad https://www.tinkercad.com/things/j6njRIhJRhk