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This paper deals with the design and the analysis of constant false alarm rate (CFAR) detectors exploiting knowledge-based (KB) processing techniques. The proposed algorithms are composed of two stages. The former is a KB data selector which, exploiting the a priori information provided by a geographic information system, chooses the training samples for threshold adaptation. The latter stage is a conventional CFAR processor. The performance of the new schemes is analysed in the presence of real radar data, collected by the McMaster IPIX radar, and compared with other common CFAR detectors. The results show that noticeable performance improvements can be obtained suitably exploiting the a priori information available about the sensed environment.