The Digital Radio Project Bureau, based in Baden-Baden, is a joint initiative of the ARD, Deutschlandradio and Digitalradio Deutschland GmbH (DRD), a consortium of private broadcasters involved right from the start in the national digital radio project. The participants pursue the objective of establishing digital radio in Germany as the "radio of the future".
It is the Project Bureau's job to coordinate all the activities and to inform the public of the launch of the new digital radio services available both nationally and regionally, as well as the possibilities that this affords.
A reception forecast tool was developed, based on mapApps, the Web 2.0 technology for geo-applications developed by the Esri group, which is available to users as a cloud-based application. Using FME technology, the heterogeneous database was merged into an Enterprise Geodatabase and published with ArcGIS for Server as a high-performance map service.
In addition, external geoservices were incorporated in the application, for the purpose of navigation and to provide a background map display.
The reception forecast tool at www.digitalradio.de allows users to query the current coverage for any location throughout the Federal Republic of Germany, at any time. Moreover, an optimised version for tablet computers is available from www.empfangsprognose.de.
The reception forecast tool was deliberately designed to be easy to use. To make a query, a marker is placed on the map of Germany either by clicking on the map or searching for a postcode or place name. All available stations are then displayed in an alphabetical list. In addition, the system provides information on individual reception conditions and even takes into account any potential interference from neighbouring transmitters in the broadcast area. This is the first tool of its kind which enables digital radio coverage in Germany to be queried via the internet, without having to perform timeconsuming searches of broadcast information provided by broadcasters or network operators.
Users can also select individual frequency blocks to configure the coverage area for the displayed station ensemble. This is particularly useful for listeners living in border areas between adjacent federal states. A PDF export function is available for outputting the postcode query, augmented with additional information regarding frequencies, broadcasting networks, programmes and additional services. It is therefore a service that is of particular benefit to specialist retailers.