A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system that gathers, analyses, stores, checks, manipulates, manages, and visualizes data related to spatial locations on Earth’s surface. A GIS works as a database with geographic information (alphanumeric data) that is associated by an identifier common to the graphic objects of digital maps. In this way, when we point to an object we can know its attributes and, inversely, asking for a record of the database we can know its location in the cartography. Many services take advantage of this kind of systems because GIS can use any information that includes location (population, roads, income, etc.). Nowadays there exist a lot of GIS. Some of them have a commercial purpose and others are open-source.
On the other hand, the calculation of the propagation losses in an open area is a fundamental task for the planning of wireless network systems. In this case, empirical methods have proven to be very effective when predicting the propagation losses in this kind of environments. Although the geographical information that these methods use does not need to be very precise, the performance of the method improves if this information is taken from the environment instead of using some typical values obtained for a scenario similar to the one under analysis.
Years ago this geographical information was very difficult to obtain and, therefore, data taken from previous statistical analysis was used. However, nowadays, all the information that is needed can be taken from the data provided by most of the GIS available in the market. Therefore, the design of a tool which combines the use of empirical methods for the calculation of the propagation with the information provided by geographical information systems can improve, in a very cheap way, the performance of existing propagation tools. Therefore, such tool for engineers, academics, and geospatial professionals alike to model wave propagation models.
With this aim, the book shows the procedure to integrate, in a practical way, empirical propagation methods with geographical information systems (GIS) to obtain the radio coverage in open environments. The approach of the book is very practical. It will start with the theoretical explanation of empirical methods and GIS but as a basis to develop a real tool that combines both aspects to provide the user a suitable method for the wireless network planning in urban areas. The applications of such tool will be also analyzed in this book.
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