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This odd map of Oklahoma went (kind of) viral

Reddit user TheEmperorOfJenks created this 3D printed topographic map of Oklahoma and posted it to the site. Its elevation has been significantly exaggerated. [PROVIDED]
Reddit user TheEmperorOfJenks created this 3D printed topographic map of Oklahoma and posted it to the site. Its elevation has been significantly exaggerated. [PROVIDED]

Late last month, a curious photo showed up on Reddit, the massively popular social media website that acts like a topic-based message board and calls itself "the front page of the internet."

The slightly out-of-focus image shows a plastic cutout shaped like Oklahoma. It has hills and valleys and elevation changes as the panhandle rises to meet the Rockies.

Reddit user TheEmperorOfJenks used a 3D printer to make the topographical relief map and shared it with a Tulsa-themed part of the website, the r/tulsa subreddit.

TheEmperorOfJenks, whose hometown is Tulsa, didn't want to be personally identified, but answered a few questions about the modestly famous post that made rounds on Reddit and other social media platforms.

The map was made with a Prusa MINI 3D printer, using ABS plastic filament.

"The final product really surprised me with the panhandle being so tall. I always knew Black Mesa was the highest point of the state, but didn't know it would be so significantly higher than Turkey Mountain and the Wichitas," the Reddit poster said. "The midpart of Oklahoma being so flat really goes to show why places like Norman and Edmond are such tornado magnets."

Casual observers might not realize the map isn't to scale. The panhandle slopes dramatically upward, and the Kiamichi Mountains look like jagged peaks instead of ancient, weathered tops.

While it may be (relatively) accurate topography, the elevation is significantly exaggerated. The map's creator found the 3D printer file online but doesn't know how much it's exaggerated.

A realistic representation would be almost smooth with some texture, as Oklahoma's elevation varies by less than a mile between the panhandle and the Little River in southeastern Oklahoma where it meets the Arkansas border.

Along with r/tulsa, TheEmperorOfJenks also posted the photo to r/mildlyinteresting. Two days after the first post, someone else saw the image and reposted it to another subreddit dedicated to maps. That post earned hundreds of comments and almost 12,000 "upvotes," Reddit's equivalent of a Facebook "like."

TheEmperorOfJenks said a follow-up 3D printed map showing the Sooner State's neighbors is possible. Until then, the little plastic Oklahoma hangs proudly displayed from the Reddit poster's rearview mirror.

Dale Denwalt

Dale Denwalt has closely followed state policy and politics since his first internship as an Oklahoma Capitol reporter in 2006. He graduated from Northeastern State University in his hometown of Tahlequah. Denwalt worked as a news reporter in... Read more ›

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