Tag Archives: cellular
National level datasets for a wireless carrier often encompass many regional extracts of data. The number of regions can be as few as 5 or 6 to possibly a hundred depending on how the carrier manages it national footprint. The regional extracts usually come in the form of a “best server” array that aggregates the cell tower coverage for that region. One problem carriers are faced with is how to take these individual regional rasters and create a seamless view at the national level that can be served up and shared with the general public or others within the organization?
This is not as simple as it sounds since wireless coverage does not honor the boundaries of regions and bleeds into other regions. We therefore have the possibility for multiple areas of overlapping coverage. The seamless national view needs to maintain the “best server” properties for any given location and only show the best level of coverage for any location. So how do we create this seamless view that merges the properties in the correct manner for these areas of overlap?
Luckily we have a data management solution in the form of Mosaic datasets… Continue reading
This question has come up a few times recently… How do i identify areas of high and low tower redundancy in a wireless network?
This question usually comes up in the context of improving the resiliency of a network in preparation for EOC type events or in removing redundant tower locations gained during an acquisition.
As always there are many ways to go about solve these types of problems. One of these ways is to use ArcGIS Spatial Analyst. This extension which is fully integrated with ArcGIS Desktop provides more than 150 tools and functions for comprehensive, raster-based spatial analysis. Since cell tower coverage data starts its life off as raster data Spatial Analyst is ideally suited to helping us crunch some numbers on this data.
In this entry I wanted to talk briefly about the value of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) to the telecom industry and in particular the network operators. Its an area of “technology” that has seen a lot of interest recently particularly in the areas of disaster and emergency management.
We are all seeing how crowd sourced or volunteered location based information can provide another invaluable source of near real time information for first responders and emergency managers. But how can this type of information collection model help telecom network operators?
Well think about the network services you have at home or those that you access while on the road. Are they pervasive, are they everywhere, do they always work? Well the answer is no, not always and sometimes this can be more than just frustrating especially to business users.
As promised i wanted to follow up on my previous discussion regarding the use of geoprocessing tools to automate the process of “cleaning” RF propagation data. In that article i talked about releasing an example GP model that shows how the different tools can be strung together to automate this complex business process.
I’ve just added such an example model to ArcGIS.com for download.
This download includes a sample map document containing 3 RF propagation studies in the Florida area. This is the raw engineering data output by a radio planning tool (in this case we used Cellular Expert).
Visit Esri March 22-24 in booth no. 2334 at CTIA Wireless 2011, where you’ll see Esri web and mobile GIS solutions on display. Our web APIs will be powering a wireless Network Operations Center (NOC) application and an interactive wireless coverage viewer. Our Wireless NOC application features core ArcGIS technology with the BAO reporting widget built in. We will also have the ArcGISfor iPad and iPhone solutions on display. Stop by our booth to learn how Esri technology can drive applications that bring together and analyze critical information on network status, weather conditions, mobile field technicians, and more, to give you a real-time view of what’s happening on your network. See the tools that can maximize uptime and quickly evaluate and restore network outages. To learn more about our solutions or make an appointment to see us at CTIA, visit esri.com/ctiawireless or email email@example.com
This article aims to introduce some of the standard geoprocessing tools that can be used to cleanup radio signal propagation data produced by various Radio Frequency (RF) design and planning tools.
Wireless carriers generate an immense about of RF planning information with predictions of signal strength, best server, 2nd best server, adjacent & co-channel interference, handover information etc This initially raster format information is used by engineering groups to identify under served areas, areas with poor Quality of Service, areas with limited capacity and a variety of other uses.
While RF prediction data is generated for engineering purposes it is ultimately reused and exposed to the roaming partners, external organizations and the general public (via coverage locator apps etc). For such uses however the level of detail must be simplified both for competitive reasons and for making a clear and simple picture of the organizations service territory.
At the Mobile and LBS Special Interest Group meeting held Wednesday evening, Mike Dagle and Scott Oppmann from Oakland County Michigan shared their experiences deploying a solution for Oakland County Animal Control using ArcGIS Server and the newly released ArcGIS Mobile application.
Oakland County Animal Control was established in 1919 to enforce pet-ownership laws and control stray pet population. Each year Animal Control conducts a dog census. The goal of the census is to both estimate the number of domestic pets and locate/issue citations any unlicensed dogs. Due to the size of county, approximately 10 municipalities are canvassed each year and the County uses summer students to conduct the census.
Prior to implementing ArcGIS Mobile, the process involved geocoding current dog licenses, joining the geocoded location to tax parcels, creating a series of 11×17 paper maps, conducting the census on paper log sheets and then manually entering the logged results into a database in the office. There were several limitations with their current process that by implementing ArcGIS Mobile they hoped to overcome – needless production of many paper maps, redundant entry of information, potential error/loss of data by poorly written/lost/damaged logs, inefficient use of staff with considerable lag time between field logging and data entry.
Mike Dagle, Scott Oppmann, Dawn Beemer and Brian Ely from the County chose to use ArcGIS Server and deploy the new ArcGIS Mobile application to census takers. They were able to leverage their existing investment in ArcGIS. They replicated their Tax Parcels geodatabase and transformed the parcels feature class to include Animal Census attributes. Then using ArcMap, they symbolized the parcels layer to create a unique list of feature types that would represent the target properties for census takers.
Once the map and geodatabase were in place, the next step was then to simply publish the map as a map service with mobile data access capabilities in ArcCatalog and then use the ArcGIS Server Manager application to author the Animal Control project for field use with the ArcGIS Mobile application. A Windows 2003 Server box running IIS 6 was employed for the census and Oakland County chose to implement a reverse-proxy architecture using ISAPI rewrite so that census takers could wirelessly synchronize census updates from the field yet manage their solution from within the County firewall.
Deployment and Field Use
Oakland County chose to deploy AT&T Tilt devices to their census takers due to their relative low cost, network reliability and coverage, and inclusion of an integrated GPS. They chose to use the web page/web service out of the box methodology to deploy the mobile application, project and data cache to all devices.The census takers were able to pick up and use both the devices and the ArcGIS Mobile application with little to no training. This was in part due to the fact that the census takers were young summer students and very familiar with cell phone technology.
Given that the ArcGIS Mobile application leverages both the intelligence of the map and the geodatabase, yet providing the flexibility in defining a mobile project so that the terminology and tasks match the needs of the field workforce, the census takers were very efficient in their use of the application. They used the GPS capabilities to navigate themselves on the map and the Identify and Search capabilities to locate the parcels they needed to update. The edit form displays the field aliases of the map that can be further refined when defining the edit form for the project and the data entry controls honor the intelligence of the geodatabase.
The deployment of ArcGIS Mobile was a resounding success for the County. They were able to implement and deploy their Animal Control solution without the need of a developer and were able to get the system up and running very quickly. The ArcGIS Mobile application and its inherent task-based workflows proved easy for the census takers to understand and use and required very little training. The ability to wirelessly synchronize information from the field directly into their geodatabase removed the redundant data entry and potential loss of data. And by using a handheld device they eliminated the need to create paper maps. They are now looking at other paper-based field solutions that can be replaced using ArcGIS Mobile and ArcGIS Server technology.
On the ArcGIS Mobile product pages, you can download the Oakland County Case Study documenting the Oakland County experience. There you will find additional case studies illustrating the use of ArcGIS Mobile.
I would like to extend a special thank you to Mike Dagle, Scott Oppmann, Tammi Shepherd, and Dawn Siegel from Oakland County for their willingness to embrace and deploy new technology and share their GIS needs with both ESRI and the GIS community as a whole. You rock.
This is the first of several postings on the topic of map caches and mobile applications. This initial post will discuss how applications developed using the Mobile SDK work cache map data and then present some key strategies for deploying mobile map caches to devices. Subsequent posts will discuss best practices for requesting map data from the server, how you can leverage Microsoft API’s to optimize when you make server requests, and much more.
Critical to applications developed for use in the field is the ability to function both connected and disconnected from a network. When you are out in the field you are often either moving in and out of coverage (wifi, cellular) as you work or for various reasons cannot be connected at all. The architecture of ArcGIS Mobile was designed with the full range of connectivity scenarios in mind…
In order for your mobile application to view and edit maps when not connected to a server, the map cache must be stored locally on the device. The map cache is both a folder full of map data and a component in the SDK. Using the MapCache component, you can request map data from the server and post new and updated features to the server. For a full description of the architecture of the map and map cache components we recommend you start by reading the overview topic.
Disk space may be cheap but access to the data you store on disk is very expensive. For that reason, it is extremely important to consider an appropriate data deployment strategy so that your field workers are always armed with the data they need to be successful in the field.
Some key factors that you should consider when planning your deployment strategy:
- When and how frequently do your field workers need to synchronize with the server?
- How large an extent will they work through when disconnected?
- What map layers are critical to the success of their field work?
- What devices will be used in the field and how will field workers get connected?
In addition to the factors mentioned above, determining the right information and transactional model for the field is critical – do not simply publish maps designed for use in the office. Determine what information in your enterprise database is required to accomplish field projects and design your map with the target device and work conditions in mind.
You can use the Extractor sample that ships with the Mobile SDK to build a map cache that can then be deployed to mobile devices before they leave the office. Once you have created a map cache, you can then copy that map cache to either the main memory on a mobile device or to a storage card. If you have a handful of mobile devices that you need to deploy data to, you can cradle those devices and use Microsoft ActiveSync to copy the cache to the device. If you have a large number of devices to manage, there are several third party tools in the market today that can help you deploy map caches. Microsoft’s Systems Management Server and SOTI’s MobiControl are two mobile deployment applications that we have used.
By deploying map caches to devices when they are in the office, then your application need only use a cellular or wifi connection in the field to post changes made on the device or to retreive a small amount of data for a subset of the layers in the map. This will not only improve the performance of your mobile applications but reduce the high cost of data transfer.
In the next post we will provide examples of how to request data from the server and how to leverage events on the MapCache such as RequestCompleted to manage requests made between the device and the server.
Let us know how connected you are? What is the dominant connectivity scenario faced by field workers in your organization?