An algorithm of rule-based rain gauge network design in urban areas was proposed in this study. We summarized three general criteria to select the sites of rain gauges, including: (i) installment in open space; (ii) priority consideration of important regions and even distribution; and (iii) keep strong signal and avoid weak interference. Aided by spatial kernel density, the candidate locations were determined through clustering the residential buildings at first. Secondly, the overlay and buffer spatial analyses were carried out to optimize the candidate sites to avoid signal interference. Finally, the quality of site location was evaluated by cross-validation in using observed historical rainfall and ranked by mean square error for final consideration. A study case in Xicheng district, Beijing, China was selected to demonstrate the proposed method. The result showed that it could be well applied in urban areas with the capability of considering complex urban features through defining rules. It thus could provide scientific evidence for decision making in rain gauge site selection.

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