At the Mobile World Congress currently taking place in Barcelona (Spain), global mapping and location services company Here Technologies has launched a new map that shows the quality of cell phone coverage on roads around the world.
Primarily developed for mobile network operators, logistics fleets and vehicle manufacturers to assess mobile network connectivity, Here’s new Cellular Signals map is a unique dataset that provides up-to-date information about cellular connectivity performance on roads across 196 countries worldwide.
For every road segment, from highways to urban canyons to rural areas, the Cellular Signals map provides a snapshot of network coverage, carriers, signal strength and radio network type. Signal strength is represented as Excellent, Good, Fair or Poor. This information can help cellular carriers monitor the performance of their own network, conduct competitive analyses to identify areas of relative strength and weakness, and make more informed network planning decisions.
To create the Cellular Signals dataset, Here has fused its rich and dynamic worldwide radio map with its leading global map of the road network. For its radio map, Here processes aggregated cell and wi-fi traces and GPS coordinates from more than 250 million connected devices globally that use the company’s network positioning technology.
The system helps a device locate itself based on which cellular and wi-fi networks are in range of the device and how strong each signal is. By aggregating this information, Here has created a vast map of the world’s radio environment. The radio map is updated on average more than 100 million times a day through cellular-based updates alone. The high data volume enables increased positioning accuracy across every type of road, including minor residential and rural roads. Here applies cloud-based machine learning to identify outliers and anomalies in the crowdsourced data and ensure high data quality.
Here is offering the Cellular Networks dataset to customers in FGDB (File Geodatabase) format. The new product provides a range of benefits to mobile network operators, including aiding with network and RF planning and optimization, as well as conducting quality evaluations and competitive assessments.
The product can also help the carrier’s customer service team answer network service related questions and its investor relations team prepare performance reports for the financial community. The Cellular Signals map will also benefit transportation companies that can use the product to enhance communications between their fleets and the dispatch center; optimize planning and logistics; and evaluate cellular network coverage and service plans.
Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) need ‘always-on’ connectivity to the cloud, the road infrastructure and other vehicles. With the Cellular Signals service, vehicle manufacturers can optimize when a CAV downloads and uploads information. For example, if the vehicle knows it is traveling into an area with poor cellular connectivity, it can pre-download the information it needs, ensuring greater safety margins. Transportation agencies can also take advantage of the system when deploying Cellular-ITS networks.
“Predicting the available signal and bandwidth at a given location is a key part of enabling connected vehicles,” said Aaron Mayfield, senior product manager at Here. “With the emergence of 5G, a new generation of connected services will be developed, making the mapping of available bandwidths even more crucial.”