Cellular Coverage Mapping in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Eisenberg, Daniel A.
David L. Alderson, David L.
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Wireless mobile telephone service is now a dominant mode of communication throughout the world, with new technologies enabling ever expanding digital services that support commerce, government, and society. A lack of coverage in mobile services is inconvenient under normal conditions, but can exacerbate dangerous situations during emergencies. This report models and measures mobile telephone coverage in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a Caribbean territory that is still recovering from two devastating hurricanes in 2017. We present a physics‐based model designed to predict wireless coverage based on characteristics of the transmitting antennae and surrounding topography. We then present the results of ground measurements intended to validate our predictions. Overall, we confirm the anecdotal experience that there are significant “dead zones” in mobile coverage throughout the territory—both through our numerical modeling and primary data collection efforts—which can cause problems for public safety. However, our predicted coverage maps cannot be treated as authoritative at this time, due to incomplete data for transmitting towers. We recommend additional study and identify next steps required to generate authoritative coverage maps, along with the potential benefits of doing so.
Prepared for: Federal Emergency Management Agency
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
NPS Report NumberNPS-OR-23-001
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