Virtual to physical: translating a 3D landscape to a printed model

As the most-used GIS packages, ArcGIS and QGIS are amazing and powerful for analytical applications. Despite their analytical strengths, they sometimes don’t quite achieve the quality needed for high-level graphics. It’s common for cartographers to prepare maps or layers of maps in ArcGIS, then export them for use in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator where more sophisticated graphic techniques can be applied to create finished map products. The King County GIS Center recently came across another need to go beyond the graphic capabilities of ArcGIS.

A virtual view of what’s new in Seattle

Seattle, the county seat for King County and the largest city in the state of Washington, has seen great growth in the past 15 years in the construction of new buildings and infrastructure. During this same 15-year span, here in the King County GIS Center we have added two sets of vintage “lidar” data for the county to our GIS data library.