Ski racers demand super stiff boots in order to push through fast turns. Unfortunately, misinformed ski boot shoppers believe that because fast racers use stiff boot those same boots will help them achieve higher speed. In fact the opposite is true, the stiff boots put the amateur skier in an inappropriate position for their abilities and they are unable to exhibit the force into the boots required to make them work. Instead of going faster, our poor skier ends up off balance and out of control with a significantly lighter wallet.
Consumer desire for increased DEM resolution is akin to buying ski boots. I often hear “I need the highest resolution data available for this area.” Sometimes this statement proves to be a true requirement but often when asked what the DEM data will be used for the actual DEM requirements for the application don’t warrant ‘high’ res terrain data. So the consumer ends up with a high cost for storage and processing of a heavy dataset that is overkill for their project. Just like the weekend warrior on race boots, using a data resolution higher than you need will slow you down and cost you money.