modeling pearl harbor

Hey guys im trying to model pearl harbor based on some topo maps. i don’t have much experience in modeling maps and i wanted some input on the best way to go about it. I was thinking extruding vertices to trace the lines, putting them at the corresponding z-values. Then i wanted to connect the verts with faces. From there i was thinking i could add details as needed.

I do this by downloading a DEM (digital elevation map… srtm data are available for free from the USGS), which would give you a raster model of the elevations, then convert it to an obj using Accutrans 3D. It’s a finicky process. It’s easy to get massive poly counts, and sometimes you need to decimate, subsurf, smooth, etc to get it the way you want it.