Comparison of radon mapping methods for the delineation of radon priority areas – an exercise

  • Valeria Gruber Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Linz, Austria
  • Sebastian Baumann Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Linz, Austria
  • Oliver Alber Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Graz , Austria
  • Christian Laubbichler Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES), Graz; and LEC GmbH, Graz, Austria
  • Peter Bossew German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), Berlin, Germany
  • Eric Petermann German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), Berlin, Germany
  • Giancarlo Ciotoli Italian National Research Council, CNR-IGAG, Rome, Italy
  • Alcides Pereira University of Coimbra, CITEUC, Coimbra, Portugal
  • Filipa Domingos University of Coimbra, CITEUC, Coimbra, Portugal
  • François Tondeur ISIB-HE2B, Brussels, Belgium
  • Giorgia Cinelli European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
  • Alicia Fernandez University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
  • Carlos Sainz University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
  • Luis Quindos-Poncela University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain
Keywords: Radon, mapping, prediction, interpolation, radon priority areas, risk, hazard


Background: Many different methods are applied for radon mapping depending on the purpose of the map and the data that are available. In addition, the definitions of radon priority areas (RPA) in EU Member States, as requested in the new European EURATOM BSS (1), are diverse.

Objective: 1) Comparison of methods for mapping geogenic and indoor radon, 2) the possible transferability of a mapping method developed in one region to other regions and 3) the evaluation of the impact of different mapping methods on the delineation of RPAs.

Design: Different mapping methods and several RPA definitions were applied to the same data sets from six municipalities in Austria and Cantabria, Spain.

Results: Some mapping methods revealed a satisfying degree of agreement, but relevant differences were also observed. The chosen threshold for RPA classification has a major impact, depending on the level of radon concentration in the area. The resulting maps were compared regarding the spatial estimates and the delineation of RPAs.

Conclusions: Not every mapping method is suitable for every available data set. Data robustness and harmonisation are the main requirements, especially if the used data set is not designed for a specific technique. Different mapping methods often deliver similar results in RPA classification. The definition of thresholds for the classification and delineation of RPAs is a guidance factor in the mapping process and is as relevant as harmonising mapping methods depending on the radon levels in the area.


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How to Cite
Gruber V., Baumann S., Alber O., Laubbichler C., Bossew P., Petermann E., Ciotoli G., Pereira A., Domingos F., Tondeur F., Cinelli G., Fernandez A., Sainz C., & Quindos-Poncela L. (2021). Comparison of radon mapping methods for the delineation of radon priority areas – an exercise. Journal of the European Radon Association, 2.
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