Volume 22, Issue 5 p. 615-621
Short Communication

Sky-view factor approximation using GPS receivers

Lee Chapman

Corresponding Author

Lee Chapman

Climate and Atmospheric Research Group, School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

Climate and Atmospheric Research Group, School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.Search for more papers by this author
John E. Thornes

John E. Thornes

Climate and Atmospheric Research Group, School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

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Andrew V. Bradley

Andrew V. Bradley

Climate and Atmospheric Research Group, School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK

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First published: 23 April 2002
Citations: 42

Abstract

A technique is described which allows the real time measurement of sky-view factors by proxy. A simple and inexpensive global positioning system (GPS) receiver is used to acquire satellite visibility data, which is then used to develop indices related to the sky-view factor of a location. The number of visible satellites, dilution of precision and strength of satellite signal are used for analysis and demonstrate that up to 88% of the variation of the variation of the sky-view factor in urban environments can be explained by a simple index. Explanation is reduced in rural (R2 = 72%) and suburban (R2 = 52%) environments as a consequence of increased image complexity caused by variations in tree cover type and canopy height in addition to just crown closure. The complicity and expensive nature of existing sky-view factor calculation techniques should mean that utilization of the outlined methodology will improve the accessibility of sky-view data for future climate studies. Copyright © 2002 Royal Meteorological Society.