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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: http://grass.osgeo.org/grass64/manuals/html64_user/v.net.steiner.html (you can use this via the QGIS-GRASS toolbox, see http://grass.osgeo.org/wiki/QGIS_GRASS_Cookbook).

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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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There is free open source software for fiber optic network planning and design. You can download it at FTTx network planning & FTTH network design

Usage of this tool you can see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQvpPl-J7b4

It is part of larger product that supports all network inventory aspects but mainly focusing on FTTH deployment, service delivery and maitenance. It is based on QGIS open platform. More info on our website.

Disclaimer: I am from company that owns this solution.

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QGIS (and other GIS) can acomplish all that you wanted. I use it everyday as software base for FTTH design . As Giovanni told you, Your requeriments are basic function of QGIS, but you can get more of them. I use it to get total number of homes based on squares, or nodes or areas. Also you can get useful informations, like average age of population based on city areas, or nunber of companies in the areas with more than X million $ of bussiness, etc, etc. That info can influence on your design goals.

Also can do maps to get government licenses, web maps to your street technicians, etc. etc.

I've make a sample video on youtube. https://youtu.be/GQOZcFJDAak

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