News & Events

Data Now Available on Solid State Drives for Faster Performance

We are happy to announce that we are now offering our latest topographical and land use data on solid state external hard drives.  Solid state drives (SSDs) provide faster data access and significant time savings compared to rotating media hard disk drives (HDDs).  This is great news for customers interested in reducing the time it takes to complete large, high-resolution coverage studies.

As a terrestrial RF propagation software tool, TAP™ relies on topographical and land use data to predict field strength and calculate area coverage maps.  The more accurate the data, the more accurate the field strength predictions will be.  The trade-off to utilizing the high-resolution data now available is the potential increase in the time that it takes to execute large coverage studies.  In order to fully exploit the information contained in higher-resolution data, such as our 1/3 second (~10m) resolution FLT format elevation data now available for the United States, coverage studies may reasonably contain a more dense grid of points and a correspondingly larger number of calculations.


The time required to complete a coverage study is primarily determined by the time required to access the topographical data.  The time for the software to perform the calculations is small by comparison.  For years, SoftWright has delivered large data orders on external USB hard drives.  Until now, these hard drives have all been standard rotating media USB 2.0 or, more recently, USB 3.0 compatible hard disk drives (HDDs).

Now that solid state drives (SSDs) are available in larger sizes and more affordable prices, SoftWright has decided to offer data delivery on USB 3.0 SSDs.  Our benchmarking experiments for a large tile study using 1/3 sec FLT data showed the following results (displayed graphically in the above figure):

USB 2.0 Rotating HDD : 45 min
USB 3.0 Rotating HDD : 22.5 min
USB 2.0 SSD              : 10 min
USB 3.0 SSD              : 6.5 min

Although your results may vary, it is clear that making use of USB 3.0 SSD data access may significantly reduce the time to execute large coverage studies.  The larger the study, the more time savings that may be gained by upgrading to SSD technology.  For best results, employ a SSD using a USB 3.0 port.

SSD prices have come down in recent years, but they remain more expensive that rotating HDDs.  SoftWright is now offering SSDs in three sizes at the following price points (including enclosure):

120 GB SSD : $250
480 GB SSD : $500
960 GB SSD : $750

Note that SSDs require some assembly and these drives will be formatted and loaded to order.  Please allow up to two weeks for delivery.  For more information or to discuss whether or not the new high-resolution data sets on USB 3.0 SSD make sense for your application, please contact

Download a fully-functional demo version of our Terrain Analysis Package software.