Solid Terrain Modeling (STM), the maker of the world's most accurate solid terrain models, has completed 17 state-of-the-art models for the National Geographic Society. The large, full-color, 3-D scale models of sites on Earth and Mars, and of Hurricane Floyd, are now on display at the National Geographic Society's museum, Explorers Hall, in Washington, DC.
Using digital satellite data and patent-pending technology, STM cut each model from high-density plastic foam and then printed a satellite photograph of the site directly onto the model. JPL, NASA, NOAA, Swiss Air, Worldsat and other agencies and companies throughout the world supplied satellite elevation and imagery data for the models.
The models range in size from 5.5 ft by 4 ft to 52 ft by 6 ft. They include the Alps, Byrd Glacier, Chesapeake Bay and the Appalachian Range, the Grand Canyon, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Hurricane Floyd, Mount Everest, Mount Fuji, Mount St. Helens (before and after the 1980 eruption), Oahu, Olympus Mons on Mars, Patagonia, San Francisco Bay, the Virunga Mountains and Afghanistan.
Although most of the models are displayed in the museum windows, the model of Everest, 18" in elevation at its highest point, needed to be displayed flat. In addition, the 52-foot-long model of a section of the Grand Canyon hangs from the ceiling in the museum's entrance where people can walk beneath and study it.
STM also produced models of the north and south faces of the Columbia River Gorge. These were used by Decker Studios to cast two 16 ft bronze models which sit atop granite walls across from each other, and flank the walkway to the museum entrance.