Terrain profiles are heavily used by the telecommunications industry which includes wireless networks, telephone, television, radio, computer networks, and telemetry. For optimum reception, this industry often requires a direct line of sight between towers or antennas. Changes to the landscape like new tree growth and new buildings can interfere with current reception. When trying to improve reception or add new coverage areas, telecommunication companies use terrain profiles for planning purposes.
Digital elevation models (DEMs) are primarily used in the planning phase, since it costs thousands to send out a team to determine if a new location for a tower or antenna is viable. Terrain profile software leverages DEMs to narrow possible site locations, saving the company tens of thousands of dollars.
Telecommunications is not the only industry that is interested in line of sight or terrain profiles. This concept can be used in many other industries like the out of home advertising industry. Knowing which streets can view a particular billboard and combining that information with traffic data can provide valuable impression data for the advertising industry.
These are just a few examples of how terrain profiles are used in different industries. Can you think of some other industries that could use terrain profiles? Add you thoughts and comments below.