In this paper, a new geographic information systems (GIS)-based algorithm is proposed for supporting the initial design of a wireless communications system in open-pit mines. In this algorithm, multiple candidate transmitter (wireless access point) locations are selected considering the probability of further development and environmental factors in the mine. Then, a three-dimensional (3D) partial Fresnel zone between the transmitter and the receiver is defined and its 3D Fresnel index calculated by communication viewshed analysis of topographic data. The initial design for a transmitter layout is then determined based on the 3D Fresnel indices, which are calculated for all candidate transmitter locations. The proposed algorithm was applied to an open-pit mine located in Samcheok-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea. The 3D Fresnel indices were calculated for 15 candidate transmitter locations, and an initial transmitter layout then designed considering favorable combinations of two, three, and four transmitters. The proposed algorithm provided more precise Fresnel index overlay maps for the favorable transmitter candidate combinations than other algorithms based on line-of-sight and two-dimensional partial Fresnel zone analyses. Application of the algorithm to an open-pit mine where a wireless communications system is already installed revealed that the initial transmitter layout design is acceptable in terms of providing reasonable information on the coverage area of transmitters. Because the proposed algorithm provides an initial transmitter layout that can be modified after field investigations, it can support efficient design of wireless communications systems for use in open-pit mines.
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