In Rhino 3 or 4, geometry built in Rhino or imported into Rhino that is extremely far (millions of units) from the World origin suffers from display and precision problems due to the polygon mesh vertex locations being represented by single precision number. This affects the appearance of shading and rendering, and the appearance of polygon mesh objects.
One solution to this problem is to move all of the existing geometry closer to the origin and make the model there. However since it may be that the model needs to be placed to correspond to survey data that uses the very large numbers of units, this is not always possible. You can have it both ways using the following procedure-
Model A is really just a container file, used to perform the scaling/transposing of the model. All the data in Model A can be linked to outside sources (including the data from the original model, if you will be receiving updates throughout the course of the project), so that one can update this outside data (Model B in our example, but there could be multiple linked files) and have everything update in Model A without having to go through the scale/translate process each time.
Thanks to Mike La Fon for outlining this process on the Rhino newsgroup.