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Radio Astronomy Demonstrator: Assessment of the Appropriate Sites through a GIS Open Source Application

Duarte, L. ; Teodoro, A. ; Maia, D. ; Barbosa , D.

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information Vol. 5, Nº 209, pp. 1 - 22, November, 2016.

ISSN (print): 2220-9964
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,48 (in 2016)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3390/ijgi5110209

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In the framework of Portuguese radio astronomical capacitation towards participation in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project, a site was selected for radio astronomical testing purposes and the development of a radio astronomical infrastructure. The site is within Herdade da Contenda (HC), a large national forest perimeter, located in Alentejo (Portugal). In order to minimize the impacts in the ecosystem and landscape, an application based on the Geographic Information System (GIS) open source environment was created, the HC Environmental Integrated Management System. This application combines several functionalities and menus with different characterization methods allowing the creation of multiple maps regarding the HC characteristics, such as Digital Elevation Model (DEM), Land Use Land Cover (LULC), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), groundwater vulnerability, erosion risk, flood risk and forest fire risk. Other geographical information can be added if necessary (human heritage visualization and fauna and flora). A decision making support tool was also developed. It incorporates an algorithm running through a series of assigned weights and eliminatory factors to find the locations best suited for the infrastructure with minimal impact to the local ecosystem. In order to test the application and the decision making tool, several maps were used as input in order to decide which sites are more adequate. The application developed can be adopted for other protected or natural areas.