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I'm a GIS newbie trying to design a fiberoptic network in QGIS. What I'd ideally need is to draw lines on top of a map or orthophoto, assign a name/id to each line and a type. Get a list of all the lines and how long they are.

I'm grateful for any tips on how to go about doing this and what resources to read.

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What you need is a basic function of any GIS program: digitising vector features and give them a bunch of alphanumeric attributes. QGIS obviously does that, just check the manual. To compute the exact length of lines check the "field calculator" function.

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To design an optimal cable routing, you may consider a Steiner tree: (you can use this via the QGIS-GRASS toolbox, see

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What you need is a software called FiberPlanIT. This software integrates with QGIS for designing FTTH networks. However, the software is not free but it simplifies your FTTH network design process. In short:

  • FiberPlanIT automates your design process. No need for drawing lines, adding cables and ducts, ... This is all drawn automatically for you. This saves huge amounts of time, compared to a manual design process.
  • FiberPlanIT optimizes your design for lowest-cost. Taking into acount cable lengths, duct lengths, trenching costs, ... and lowering the overal costs. Impossible if you would design manually.
  • FiberPlanIT is able to plan many different FTTH designs. Different cluster sizes, cable sizes, P2P/P2MP, various splitter settings, ...
  • In the output, you have all the information for building the network: a to-build plan. You also get a FTTH bill of material listing all equipment, including the lengths of cables.

More info on why and how we work with QGIS (disclaimer: I work for FiberPlanIT)

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