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What is 3D modeling software?

3D modeling software allows you to create a mathematical representation of a 3-dimensional object or shape on your computer. The created object is called a 3D model and these 3-dimensional models are used in a variety of industries.

The film, television, video games, architecture, construction, product development, science and medical industries all use 3D modeling apps and software to visualize, simulate and render graphic designs

Best 3D Modeling Software

3D modeling software includes programs that design basic three-dimensional models of objects or characters, and often include supplemental features to flesh out models with realistic details. 3D modeling products can create models with a variety of approaches and tools, and often include 3D painting features to add textures and color. These programs are used by industries including television and motion picture, video game, marketing, and virtual reality. After they are created using 3D modeling software, the models can be given simulated life using 3D rendering and 3D animation tools. Graphic designers can utilize crude 3D models without rendering for visual use on websites and media stills. Tools with 3D capabilities, which

Technology is transforming nearly every industry, and construction is no exception. One form of tech that has recently had a substantial impact on the construction industry is three-dimensional (3D) modeling. 3D models have a major role in modern construction projects, as they can improve productivity and ease of work.

3D modeling for earthworks and machine control can increase equipment operation accuracy, enhance worksite efficiency and reduce costs, among other benefits. So, how does this technology work, and how can you apply it to your next project?


The term “3D modeling” refers to the process of creating a three-dimensional representation of an object using specialized software. This representation, called a 3D model, can convey an object’s size, shape and texture. You can create 3D models of existing items, as well as designs that have not yet been built in real life.

In construction, 3D models of a worksite can be used for machine control. These replicas incorporate the points, lines and surfaces that make up the physical environment. They use coordinate data that identifies the location of horizontal and vertical points relative to a reference point. Due to these spatial relationships, you can view the representation from various angles.

Machine control uses various positioning sensors to provide machine operators with feedback on things like target grades and bucket or blade position. The machine operators can reference the 3D model to ensure they are completing work accurately. GPS technology enables workers to locate the replica’s points in the field, and sensors on machines tell them where they are relative to the model’s points.

These control processes help crews translate the 3D model into reality by guiding equipment to construct the lines, points and surfaces precisely as described in the representation. Teams may also use 3D models for project, design and environmental compliance reviews. These models also help during pre-bidding, allowing contractors to test out various designs and communicate ideas.


The methods and technologies used today for 3D earthworks modeling would not exist without developments in civil surveying and various types of 3D modeling.

You can trace the history of 3D earthworks modeling back to ancient times. Ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids with early surveying techniques and used geometry to re-establish farmland boundaries after flooding along the Nile River. In ancient Rome, civil surveying became a recognized profession, and surveyors created measurement systems to evaluate and create records of conquered lands.

Euclid, who is known as the founder of geometry and lived in ancient Greece, developed ideas that inspired many modern surveying and 3D modeling techniques. Many years later, in the 1600s, French mathematician Rene Descartes invented analytic geometry — also called coordinate geometry — which is foundational to 3D earthworks modeling.

Moving forward to the 18th century, European surveyors discovered they could use various angle measurements taken from different areas to identify a precise location — a technique known as triangulation. New surveying tools, such as measuring wheels, circumferentors, Kater’s compasses and Gunter’s chains, began to gain popularity. Meanwhile, English mathematicians James Joseph Sylvester and Arthur Cayley developed matrix mathematics, which is what enables today’s computer-generated images to display reflections or light distortions.

Later, surveyors began to use steel bands and invar tapes. These tools eventually gave way to technologies such as electromagnetic distance measurement (EDM) and global positioning satellite (GPS) equipment. Surveyors switched from compasses to theodolites, which measured horizontal and vertical angles using a rotating telescope. They then transitioned to using total stations, which are electronic transit theodolites equipped with EDM technology. These advancements enable them to measure both angles and distances.

Then, the first commercially available computer-aided design (CAD) systems — which turn survey data into visual representations — were released. The first 3D graphics company, Evans & Sutherland, appeared in 1968. Over the next several decades, CAD programs became more advanced and more widely available.

In the machine control field, users began shifting from the use of survey stakes — which surveyors manually set up, and machine operators read visually — to 3D modeling. Various technologies came together to enable 3D earthworks modeling, including:

  • CAD, which turns survey data into a 3D model.
  • GPS, which allows engineers to pinpoint precise locations.
  • Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), a remote sensing technology that uses a pulsed laser to measure variable distances.
  • Aerial photogrammetry, which enables engineers to extract topographical data from aerial photographs taken by drones.
  • Point-cloud modeling, which involves using laser scanning technology to create a set of three-dimensional data points used to create a model.

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