Have you ever wondered what the geographic spread of telecom masts especially GSM masts in Nigeria looks like?
Sometime last year my company Spatial Technologies Ltd (STL) -Nigeria’s foremost mapping and GIS solution provider was contracted by an Abuja based Market Research organisation to undertake the project of mapping the location of all existing telecom masts across the country for a market research purpose. The project brief included the implementation of a Geospatial attribution database with hotlinked mast pictures designed to support market research intelligence for the Nigerian telecom industry.
STL was expected to provide a light weight interactive tool that would provide geographic visual capability required for a geographic spread analysis of the telecom masts across Nigeria. The client was very specific in requesting for the capability to differentiate mast ownership by operators using colour codes.
STL sent over 30 field analysts combing the entire country right from Katsina -up north of Nigeria to the creepy creeks of Rivers State in the Niger Delta mapping the location of the masts. In total we created a database of several thousands of GSM and CDMA mast records comprising MTN, Glo, Etisalat, Airtel masts, Starcomms, Helio Towers, etc. Each integrated mast location map also had hotlinked contextual picture to assist in connecting picture with location. This is the most extensive telecom mast location mapping project undertaken by a private company in Nigeria.
The client was not interested in any heavy weight GIS analysis. We therefore decided on the choice of Google map as a visual tool instead of heavy investment in MapInfo Professional or the powerful ArcGIS and expensive desktop GIS solution.
Using Google Fusion Table, It was possible to colour code the mast icons based on mast ownership appearing against the backdrop of Nigerian map data in Google map.
The business value of using Google map as a light weight map viewer especially for POI (Point Of Interest) is huge.
- The total cost of acquiring the map data comprising national highway network, street map network data, satellite imageries etc required to implement a similar desktop solution to meet the objectives of this project would cost over N12million. The client did not need to invest in expensive map data and professional mapping software to achieve the same result. Google map offers FREE online access to contextual map data of Nigeria comprising vector and satellite imageries, and available for use to everyone with internet access..
- The choice of Google map means the market research organisation could reach a wider audience without the complexity and encumbrance of learning a complicated professional map software like MapInfo Professional or ArcGIS
- Most importantly, the use of Google map resulted in a massive savings of over N7million compared to MapInfo or ArcGIS powered solution.
Each of the icons on the map represents the GSM mast location in Lagos. We have integrated a single static mast picture and operator’s logo to make it easier to differentiate mast ownership.
1. Yellow Icons -MTN Masts
2. Red Icons -Airtel Masts
3. Green Icons -Glo masts