Although 3D virtual models and 3D dynamic presentation techniques are becoming common for GIS analysis and communication, the use of Solid Terrain Models can still play a unique role to enhance geographic communication with audiences, if combined with the projection of GIS data themes on their surfaces. Being tangible products, people can gather around such models, touch and view them from any angle, and understand topography in a direct, reliable and consensual way. Physical models are democratic tools. People will find it easy to understand others and make themselves understood and this will contribute to better and faster decisions in public participation processes. This paper shows examples of several projects made in Portugal in the last few years, in areas as diverse as Environmental Interpretation Centers, the public presentation of an infrastructure railway development, or the public participation in Counties Master Plan revision processes.
Carlos Coucelo, CCCGeomatica Lda