Downhill ski racers demand super-stiff boots to help them push through tight turns at incredible speed. Unfortunately, many recreational skiers purchase racing-style boots for family ski weekends at Breckenridge with the belief that stiff boots will help them achieve greater speeds. In fact, the opposite is true – racing boots put amateur skiers in an inappropriate position for their abilities, leaving them unable to exhibit the force required to make the boots work. Instead of going faster, our poor skier ends up off balance and out of control with sore shins – and a significantly lighter wallet.
In the digital elevation model (DEM) market, I often see customers shopping for resolution the same way ski boot shoppers shop for stiffness. Customers will tell me, “I need LIDAR because it is the highest-resolution data available for this area.” Sometimes this requirement proves to be legit, but frequently the actual DEM requirements for the application don’t warrant “high res” terrain data. So the customer ends up with sky-high costs for collection, processing and storage of a heavy data set that’s overkill for their project. Just like the weekend warrior skier that insists on wearing racing boots, using a data resolution higher than required for a project slows things down and increases costs.
As a data consumer, it is critical that you define the data resolution required for your project before you set out to acquire a data set. How much detail do you really need? It’s important to also consider factors beyond resolution, such as the size and location of the AOI. Can an aerial collection be done practically, or is the location better served by a space-born sensor? What is the size of your AOI? What is your delivery timeframe? Airborne sensors can take time to collect, while archive DEMs may be immediately available.
DigitalGlobe offers a suite of elevation products that allow you to choose the right product for particular needs. We also have a network of partners that can provide the proper DEM solution if we don’t have it. Click here to request samples of the many DEM options available from DigitalGlobe and our partners. Just like a proper boot fitter will point you to ski boots that match your ability, we want to make sure you have the optimal DEM for your project and workflow. See you on the slopes…
Ryan Hamilton is the Product Marketing Manager for DigitalGlobe’s Elevation Suite.