On 17 May, both ‘techies’ and consumers will celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. This day will raise awareness of the opportunities that the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. In keeping with the spirit of this important message, Tele Atlas Africa – a leading provider of location and navigation solutions in South Africa – has acquired valuable telecommunication data that is available for use in radio frequency (RF) propagation planning.
“With our high quality data, a company using radio frequencies (cellphones, radios, etc) can evaluate how many towers they should put in an area to gain maximum coverage, at the least cost,” explains Danny Grobben, managing director of Tele Atlas Africa. “For example, when a cellphone company decides to enter into a new area, or wants to evaluate their coverage, they can use this data to make sure they have optimum coverage and at the same time prevent wasteful overlap.”
The data consists of three layers, namely: clutter data, DEM data, and vector data. Clutter data refers to land-use and land-cover, natural features and human activity on the surface of the earth. The data comes from aerial photography and satellite imagery. Height data is a 3 dimensional digital elevation model of the earth’s surface (DEM).
The combination of Clutter and DEM information is the most important factor in RF propagation analysis. Lastly, vector data is linear information such as roads, waterways, and administrative boundaries. This information provides context when creating a model of an area, and is created from high resolution aerial photography or satellite imagery and GPS tracks.
During the planning stages, this data is very helpful to cellphone companies, wireless internet providers and radio operators – saving them money, equipment and various other resources.
“Our telecommunications data is very accurate and comprehensive for the African continent,” adds Grobben. “As a result, the data is used for RF propagation planning by some of the largest telcos and cellular companies in the World.”
“The level of detail varies and can come in many formats including Asset, Planet, Mapinfo and Esri . Tele Atlas Africa provides this data either off-the-shelf or as a turn-key project for uncovered areas.”