What would Middle Earth look like from space?

J.R.R. Tolkien's hand-drawn maps of Middle Earth have long fueled readers' imaginations about the land of Hobbits, wizards, and Elves, and a group of fantasy cartographers are imagining what the world's terrain might look like in 3D.

The Middle Earth Digital Elevation Model Project is a collaborative effort to create a complete digital model of Middle Earth that can be virtually explored on foot or admired from great heights. The worldbuilders are using the Outerra graphics engine to place every forest, field, and stream on their digital Middle Earth and you can download the demo version of Middle Earth—DEM that they released last year. You can also read more about the project in the Outerra and Cartographers' Guild forums.


As FastCo Design notes, the DEM is still a work in progress, so it's still a ways away from being a complete digital copy of Middle Earth. But the project gallery includes some images that let us imagine what Middle Earth might look like from space.

Middle Earth Digital Elevation Model Project [via FastCo Design]


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