Zones of Theoretical Visibility leaflet

How it works: Zones of Theoretical Visibility

A Viewshed or Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) – sometimes known as a ZVI – analysis can be used to help show the visual impact of a proposed development; indicating where one could ‘theoretically’ see an object from a given location.


Using LiDAR data in the form of a Digital Terrain Model or Digital Surface Model, the exact (theoretical) area from where the target point (the development) is visible from can be plotted on a map. This technique is useful both in urban and rural landscapes, and specific viewpoints can be entered to determine visibility from a given point. These are often used by Architects, Landscape Architects, Urban and Town Planners and Environmental experts for planning applications.

A ZTV is normally the pre-requisite to a full blown Verified View production. The idea is to narrow down the number of Verified View’s needed by running a Viewshed Analysis. The ZTV output is normally discussed by the planners and the client to decide which ‘views’ are most sensitive and then create a shortlist of Verified Views for production.

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Review our PDF, including an example of how to generate a ZTV.

Zones of Theoretical Visibility leaflet
Dave Rowe

Dave Rowe, Principle Developer, The Carto Group.

About the Author

Dave is an open data advocate, always looking to deliver as much value as possible from clients data.

Microsoft Certified in cloud Azure stacks, Dave is an awesome GIS Software Engineer that takes web GIS applications to the highest level.

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