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.

News – How It’s Made TV Show, highlights Solid Terrain Modeling

by: Sales & Marketing’s: Rémy Frank

As many of you know, Solid Terrain Modeling was recently highlighted on the TV show, How It’s Made.

Since How It’s Made is one of our favorite shows, it was an incredible experience for us STM dorks to work with the HIM film crew and their production company staff. Besides being totally dedicated to “getting it right,” they were a fun-loving bunch of Canadians who obviously love going on long road trips, working long days, and constantly being deprived of sleep.

If you haven’t had a chance to see how we make our Solid Terrain Models, we promised to share the link to our How It’s Made episode once it became available – here it is.

We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed being part of the film making process. And, in case you’d like to find more episodes on How It’s Made, we’re including links to their sites for your reference: