Saturday, June 21, 2014

Terrain Classification

Cell Site Analysis - Site Survey: Terrain Classification

Practical research by academic sources and experienced radio planners/designers has produced varying terrain configurations over the years and one noted work for its terrain configuration assessment is produced by British Telecommunications plc, which consisted of 10 categories [0-9]:

Category_____Description of the Terrain
0                       Rivers, lakes, and seas
1                       Open rural areas (eg fields and heath-land with few trees)
2                       Rural areas, similar to the above, but with wooded areas
3                       Wooded or forested rural areas
4                       Hilly or mountainous rural areas
5                       Suburban areas, low-density dwellings, and modern industrial
6                       Suburban areas, high-density dwellings (eg council estates)
7                       Urban areas with buildings up to four storeys with gaps in-between
8                       Higher density urban areas in which some buildings have more than
                         four storeys
9                       Dense urban areas in which most of the buildings have more than
                         four stories and some can be classed as "skyscrapers"

Newer tier of characteristics included into terrain classification for urban topographic maps have been introduced:

1                       Position and distribution of buildings regarding the observer
2                       Dimensions of buildings or useful built-up area
3                       Number of buildings at the tested area
4                       Height of ground surface and its degree of "roughness"
5                       Presence of vegetation

Additionally  a second tier of determining influences; parameters have been introduced to define terrain configuration characteristics:

1                       Buildings' dimensions (sizes) distribution (BSD)
2                       Built-up area index (BAI) due to buildings' coverage effects
3                       Buildings' height distribution (BHD)
4                       Vegetation index (VI) due to vegetation coverage effects
5                       Degree of roughness of the ground surface

Students should not only be environmentally aware but, equally, should be environmentally astute to understand the impact of terrain profiling and the affect terrrain can have on mobile phone users obtaining services and the likeliest mast (BTS). Terrain profiling is perfomed as an prior preparation to and and on-site visit assessment to understand of the environment in which cellular radio is broadcast/propagated into the demesne (field of test/research).

Every student needs to be keenly aware of terrain classification and profiling. It is simply not enough to turn up with radio test measurement equipment, drive/walk-around and to allow the test device to record radio elements in the field to formulate an opinion. Remember, radio test measurements only record the radio findings at a particular location and not how the terrain influenced those findings, which is obtained from human intervention and terrain assessment.

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