Optimizing precipitation station location: a case study of the Jinsha River Basin

Ke Wang, Nengcheng Chen, Daoqin Tong, Kai Wang, Wei Wang, Jianya Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Precipitation stations are important components of a hydrological monitoring network. Given their critical role in rainfall forecasting and flood warnings, along with limited observation resources, determining the optimal locations to deploy precipitation stations presents an important problem. In this paper, we use a maximal covering location problem to identify the best precipitation station sites. Considering the terrain conditions and the characteristics of a rainfall network, the original maximal covering location model is modified with the introduction of a set of additional constraints. The minimum density requirement is used to determine a precipitation station’s coverage range, and three weighting schemes are used to evaluate each demand object’s covering priority. As a typical mountainous watershed with high annual precipitation, the Jinsha River Basin is selected as the study area to test the applicability of the proposed method. Results show that the proposed method is effective for precipitation station configuration optimization, and the model solution achieves higher coverage than the real-world deployment. Compared with the commercial solver CPLEX, a genetic algorithm-based heuristic can significantly reduce the computation time when the problem size is large. Several deployment strategies are also discussed for establishing the optimal configuration of precipitation stations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1227
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Jinsha River Basin
  • Precipitation station
  • maximal coverage
  • minimum density
  • optimal siting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Library and Information Sciences


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