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I previously asked this question in mapinfo-L (google groups). Since, I think that GIS & Telecommunication is broad subject, I think GIS SE is the correct platform to ask these questions:

  1. What are the uses of GIS in telecom?
  2. How to use GIS for telecom?
  3. Is there any free study and test material? There are a lot of them but none are free :( .
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6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I worked as a GIS analyst in the celluar telecommunications industry for a short while.

  1. Most of my tasks centered around working with coverage data, i.e. making coverage maps. I also did a lot of analysis with Census data, determining how many people we covered, what services they were covered with, and how many people lived in areas with "good" coverage. A lot of the coverage modeling software is GIS-enabled as well.

  2. When I was in telecom, most companies were using MapInfo. I'm not sure if this is still true. We made heavy use of the Vertical Mapper (raster analysis) extension do work with coverage data.

  3. Well, I would start by learning MapInfo, if you don't know it already. Training is available here: http://tutorials.mapinfo.com/tutorials/Index.htm. It's hard to come by free telecom data to practice with, though.

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I once worked in Telecom project and learned a lot out of it. The best GIS work i have seen in Telecome sector is Telcordia. Have a look on their brochure which explain little bit what they can do in Telcome. http://www.telcordia.com/collateral/brochures/net_engineer.pdf

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There are lots of different areas of Telco. I'd suggest looking into Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH). If you're in the US, stimulus funding for deploying fiber to rural areas makes this an attractive area. (This sure looks better than LightSquared plan which interferes with GPS reception.)

The relational database designs for modeling fiber connectivity I've seen are quite complex. Keeping track of splices is especially challenging. It makes me wonder if something other than the relational model would be better suited.

enter image description here

From ArcFM's Fiber Manager.

Here's a related question.

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The use of GIS in telecom is most of all about documentation. What is the infrastructure (cables, ducts, customers, ...) of the network operator? Which cables are spliced on to each other? ...

Next to documentation, planning new networks (typically fibre based, or FTTx) with GIS enables great features. (Disclaimer: I work for a company that has a product for planning fttx networks)

Using GIS early in the planning process, you can answer valuable questions that can increase the ROI of a project. For example

  • How much does it cost to build a network in a certain area? Based on GIS data, you know exactly the bill of material, and the costs of your network. Typically, this costs is being guesstimated based on previous projects. If you plan a network for 1M customers, and you estimate the costs incorrect by €1 per customer, you could run into troubles...
  • If you combine costs per neighborhood with geomarketing information (data about adoption of a telecom service, linked to location of the customers), you can optimize where to roll-out the network and in what order. Doing so, you maximize where to invest in order to get the most return.

Using GIS later in the planning process, when you are building a to-build plan, enables you to document exactly what a contractor has to put in the ground. This enables a better project management, and simplifies solving operational issues when a link is destroyed.

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There's so much you can do in Telco.

To name a few, you cna do push marketing, you can create areas, such as O2 Germany, called home areas which allow you to use your mobile inside certain areas as the cheaper home rate, then track the phoen to charge them approiately if they use it out of the area, you can check out the demographics of your customers, locations. You can track a phone user (useful for keeping tabs on kids, workers, company assets, vehicle tracking, etc).

In short, pretty much everything you can do in business, you can do with Telco's. One of the things you should do as a practitioner, expecially freelance, is to expand a clients understanding of what is actually possible. Not only do Telco's have the address information of their clients, they actually know where they are, if their phone is turned on. This opens up endless development of that location data.

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Any telco that uses microwave links has a whole mess of line-of-sight modelling to do to plan and maintain links. With longer links, link speed and propagation depends on the weather. Tree growth can be an issue, as can new buildings and structures built in or near the path.

I don't work for a telco, but since I build very tall things in rural areas, I've sure worked with their land and GIS departments.

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