Line-of-sight communication on terrain models


Line-of-sight communication on topographic surfaces has relevance for several applications of Geographical Information Systems. In this paper, we study the problem of linking a set of transceiver stations in a visibility-connected communication network, by placing a minimum number of relays on the terrain surface. The problem is studied in the framework of a discrete visibility model, where the mutual visibility of a finite set of sites on the terrain is represented through a graph, called the visibility graph. While in the special case of only two transceivers an optimal solution can be found in polynomial time, by computing a minimum path on the visibility graph, the general problem is equivalent to a Steiner problem on the visibility graph, and, thus, it is untractable in practice. In the latter case, we propose a practical approximate solution based on a Steiner heuristic. For both the special and the general case, we propose both a static and a dynamic algorithm that allow computation of a solution, and we show experimental results.

International Journal of Geographical Information Systems