Featured Geo-modeler: Dick Stada

Dick Stada’s story started when he was exploring the Rotterdam marathon in Google Earth. He writes: “I saw skyscrapers appear. It only was a series of white blocks but still spectacular.” Shortly thereafter, he learned that he could create these buildings himself with SketchUp.

Jabadoo by Stada

Mr. Stada started using SketchUp to model his house in order to plan a renovation: taking detailed measurements of the walls, windows, roof and other components. While he found SketchUp’s user interface to be quite simple, the tools were also extremely powerful. After a few weeks, Mr. Stada had completed a very detailed model — including textures applied to the sides made from his own photographs.

One of Mr. Stada’s earliest models is also his favorite: John Hejduk’s Wall House 2. It took months to complete – he even took pictures of the roof with a kite! It is a unique building with challenging shapes and it is only one block away from his home.

Wallhouse #2 by Stada

Over the years, he’s refined his process:

  1. Take photographs on a sunny day with long shadows
  2. Record some basic measurements (with some help from his kids)
  3. Find the best roof pictures on the Internet
  4. Import the best Google Earth view
  5. Start modeling and prepare the textures
  6. Look for interesting details about the building
  7. Send the owners of the building an email with a link to the finished model in the 3D Warehouse

On the horizon, Mr. Stada plans to work on modeling the southwest part of Groningen NL, focusing on architecturally interesting buildings. Though he and his daughter have started using Google Building Maker in select areas, he prefers to hand-craft his models with SketchUp.

Office Piccardthofplas by Stada

As a systems engineer, Mr. Stada’s interests include spending time with his family, running, cycling, skating, photography and illustration. He considers Google Earth to be “one of the best inventions of the last decade.” Perhaps this is just something in his genes; he is, after all, the son of a geodetic engineer.

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