DM-10 - Triangular Irregular Network (TIN) Models

A Triangular Irregular Network (TIN) is a way of storing continuous surfaces. It is vector based, and works in such a way that it connects known data points with straight lines to create triangles, often called facets. These facets are planes that have the same slope and aspect over the facet. Collectively, these hypothetical lines form a network covering the whole surface. TINs are efficient when storing heterogeneous surfaces, since homogenous areas are stored using few data points, while areas with more variability are stored in detail using a larger number of data points. In other words, a TIN can be more detailed where the surface is complex (high variation) by using smaller facets, and less detailed where the surface is more homogeneous by using larger facets. TINs also have a high modelling potential, e.g. in topography and hydrology. However, the unique way of storing data an a TIN often makes it difficult to combine with other spatial data formats. Instead, the TIN data would usually be converted to other suitable formats.