At home in Seattle


by: Sales & Marketing’s: Rémy Frank

Solid Terrain Modeling recently exhibited at the American Alliance of Museums Conference (AAM 2014) in Seattle. Conferences are always hectic, demanding, and one of the things I love most about my job. I get the opportunity to interface with our museum clients and exhibit design firm partners, learn about their upcoming projects and objectives, and participate in some of the best networking events ever hosted by a conference…

By day, the expo floor is filled with an eclectic bunch of museum professionals, and since I typically manage our booth solo, I had a constant stream of visitors throughout the three days – making it a great time to hear about so many interesting projects!

The AAM hosted evening events at the Seattle Art Museum, Henry Art Gallery, the MOG, Seattle Center, the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden, Foss Waterway Seaport and more. There were so many great events, it was almost impossible to choose where to go. From glass blowing, to a boat ride, to beetles cleaning bones, to the Miro exhibit. All while getting to meet great new people and reconnect with others.

One great reconnect, was with the folks of I had met some of their team last year during AAM in Baltimore, and while planning our exhibit for this year’s conference I realized that we would be displaying a model of the Seattle area. It occurred to me that since we like to change up our exhibit displays to keep things fresh, it was about time to “retire” our terrain model of Seattle. Geeks that we are, it is always with some angst that we part with the unique locations we create in 3D. And this model was no different, except for the fact that we might be able to find it a place to call home – in Seattle. We reached out to the VisitSeattle folks and viola! they were thrilled to give our bumpy masterpiece, complete with Mount Rainier, a home in their offices!

Angst resolved, the STM team is super excited to know that the terrain model of Seattle will live on – among true Seattle-ite friends. We hand walked the model to their office right after the close of the AAM 2014 Conference. Mission accomplished, I packed up our booth and headed for home. (I’ve included some photos from the trip, in case you’d like to see what we were up to!) 

How to use Google Earth to define your Points of Interest


Once the model area has been defined, it is time to add some features to the model.  A common feature to add is a Point of Interest (POI).  Often times we come across POIs that have not been previously mapped.  This is very easy to accomplish in Google Earth, and will aid in the design of the model tremendously.

This initial design step will help to define location of your POIs, which can later be stylized and/or labeled as you see fit.  At this stage it is more important to accurately locate the POI then it is to get the look just right in Google Earth.

After opening Google Earth, locate the “Places” menu bar on the left side of the screen.


Right Click on “My Places”, hoover over “Add”, then click “Folder”. Name your project folder.


You can then add subfolders for different categories of POIs (i.e. “Schools”, “Hospitals”, Shopping”).  It is good to keep your POIs very organized, as it will make adding style to them easier if they are in there appropriate groups.


Once you have located your subject area we can begin to add our POIs.  There are a couple of methods of locating the POI; you can search for the point in the search bar, or if you are familiar with the area you can visually locate it on screen by zooming in.


Once you have located where the POI is, click on the “Add Placemark” button located at the top of the screen (it looks like a yellow thumbtack).  You can also right click on the folder it is to be placed in,  then “Add”, then “Placemark”.


By default the thumbtack is placed at the center of the screen, and the crosshairs should be flashing.  To more accurately place the POI, click and drag the flashing placemark to its exact location.


When you click on the “Add Placemark” button, a dialog box will pop up.  This is where you can name your POI, add any description of the POI.


Once you are satisfied with the location and name of the POI, click “OK” in the dialog box.  Notice that your shape was added to the “Places” menu, under whichever folder you placed it in.  Next, right click on the project folder, or category folder, and click “Save Place As”.  Save as a KMZ, in a location easy to find.

Send the KMZ, or multiple KMZs to us here at Solid Terrain Modeling, and we will be well on our way to making your project a reality.

Boisset Shares the Science Behind Spectacular Wine

Flamboyant. Outrageous. Superb. Bodacious.

All words that describe Jean-Charles Boisset and his Boisset Family Estate wines. You may think I’m just slinging crazy words around, and your right. But, if the words fit… At the root of the Boisset Family Estates are some extremely tasty wines, produced by a true (and eccentric) master.

Every one of the family estate wineries – there are more than 10 in California alone – produce exceptional varietals based on some of the world’s most prestigious terroirs, climate and of course their family winemaking heritage. Spanning regions from Burgundy to the South of France to California’s Napa Valley and Russian River Valley, Boisset offers an amazing experience that fits perfectly with their wine maker’s personality.

In line with Jean-Charles’ unconventional style, he has designed the tasting experience at his wineries to be exceptionally fun, delicious and educational. (Yep, believe it or not, delicious can be educational.) As part of the experience, each winery shares details about their location and what makes their soil, air, and climate optimal for growing the “perfect” fruit. That fruit is then harvested and processed under specific guidelines to produce the very best vintages possible.

To make the tasting experience complete, newly released vintages are shared, and depending on which Boisset winery you are visiting, these wines may be shared around a Solid Terrain Model. Why would a winery care about displaying their wine region on a 3D topographical model? Because there is no easier way to communicate the technical side of growing great fruit – hillsides, valleys, mountain ranges, are just that – visually appealing and touchable hillsides, valleys, and mountain ranges. Even without viticulture knowledge, the terrain-specific wind currents and upwelling, dry regions vs. cool regions, all become self-explanatory when folks gather around a Solid Terrain Model.

We are honored to have been selected to help provide the distinct and over-the-top experience that the Boisset crew insists on delivering. Stop by and check out the bodacious experience for yourself, you won’t be disappointed! And, if you’d like to enjoy a glass of Boisset crafted wine alongside one of our Solid Terrain Models, visit:

The Raymond Vineyards Rutherford Room, and enjoy a sneak peak at Raymond Vineyards Installing the Napa Valley Model.

DeLoach Vineyards – you’ll find a model of Sonoma Valley in their Appellation Room.

Here we are! (and phew…)

by: Sales & Marketing’s: Rémy Frank

So, we just finished launching our new Solid Terrain Modeling website. We were on a mission to get it prepped and launched in time for our company appearance on the Discovery Science Channel’s TV show called “How It’s Made.”

As anyone can guess, the project has involved more than a few late nights, for more than a few team members and partners. Yet, while bleary eyed and dazed, the site is up and looking good! We even fit in the release of a new product line… a ready-to-order series of 3D Solid Terrain Models. We can’t wait to hear how people like them! Please let us know.

I want to share a HUGE thanks to the gang at DCG for helping get the site off the ground and running. I also want to thank our GIS/designer “dude,” Jeff Klittich, for the quick turn on deliverables, as well as the rest of the STM team who covered for me while we banged this out. Fine-tuning to follow… as websites are never actually done. :-]

So to wrap this up, it’s time to celebrate! – with an STM team viewing of our How It’s Made episode tonight at 6:00pm PT. We’re excited to share the news, and hope folks out there decide to tune in and see how Solid Terrain Models are made.