In-City Rain Mapping from Commercial Microwave Links—Challenges and Opportunities

Roy Janco, Jonatan Ostrometzky, Hagit Messer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obtaining accurate rainfall measurements is highly important in urban areas, having a significant impact on different aspects in city life. Opportunistic rainfall sensing utilizing measurements collected by existing microwave and mmWave-based wireless networks has been researched in the last two decades and can be considered as an opportunistic integrated sensing and communication (ISAC) approach. In this paper, we compare two methods that utilize received signal level (RSL) measurements obtained by an existing smart-city wireless network deployed in the city of Rehovot, Israel, for rain estimation. The first method is a model-based approach using the RSL measurements from short links, in which two design parameters are calibrated empirically. This method is combined with a known wet/dry classification method, which is based on the rolling standard deviation of the RSL. The second method is a data-driven approach, based on a recurrent neural network (RNN), which is trained to estimate rainfall and classify wet/dry periods. We compare the results of rainfall classification and estimation from both methods and show that the data-driven approach slightly outperforms the empirical model and that the improvement is most significant for light rainfall events. Furthermore, we apply both methods to construct high-resolution 2D maps of accumulated rainfall in the city of Rehovot. The ground-level rainfall maps constructed over the city area are compared for the first time with weather radar rainfall maps obtained from the Israeli Meteorological Service (IMS). The rain maps generated by the smart-city network are found to be in agreement with the average rainfall depth obtained from the radar, demonstrating the potential of using existing smart-city networks as a source for constructing 2D high-resolution rainfall maps.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4653
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
In recent years, our research was supported by the NSF-BSF (grant number: CNS-1910757) and the Israel Innovation Authority—Technological Infrastructure Division. This article is related to the COST Action OpenSense, CA20136, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • environmental monitoring
  • ISAC
  • opportunistic ISAC
  • opportunistic sensing
  • RNN
  • smart city


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