FAQ

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Some commonly asked questions.

Q: How do I use this tool???
A: Although it may be daunting at first, it is rather simple to use. What to enable depends on what you want to see.
If you want to see trails that go from green to red (best to worst signal), click the Signal Trails button in the top right corner.
If you want to see details about the cells on a cell phone tower, click the Coverage button.

Q: The tower location is way off/in the middle of the water/on top of a remote mountain.
A: Tower locations are based purely on calculations. The reason that towers will show up over water is due to the fact that water usually doesn't contain any object that can block signals. So, to the algorithm, sitting in a building right beside a cell phone tower will appear to be the same as being 5 km away with direct line of sight. Hence, it will calculate an average of the two spots and display a marker there. The most ideal terrain to calculate a towers is a completely flat prairie with tower spaced widely apart. That being said, even that will not guarantee the location is correct if the measurements provided by the phone were not correct.

For a tower to be calculated properly, you will need to travel around the tower in at least 1/2 to 3/4 of a circle near the actual location in order to determine the exact location. I have verified this with WIND Mobile in Vancouver, Canada by comparing the locations calculated to the actual licenses given for cell phone equipment to be used.

Q: A single cell is stretching for 5/10/15 km or more!
A: Unfortunately, not much can be done about this. Most Windows Mobile phones will report the same Cell ID when a call is in progress. Likewise, some phones will get "stuck" to reporting a single cell id for a certain length of time. Another possibility is that the GPS device is incorrectly reporting the position; and as a result the location may keep changing wildly before it settles down to the right location.
As more data is gathered, these errors will slowly decrease until the map becomes more and more accurate.

Q: Why isn't the frequency displayed when I map a region?
A: The frequency can only be retrieved with a BlackBerry device and some Windows Mobile phones

Q:How long does it take for my data to appear?
A:It will be calculated throughout the day, so exact time varies. Each region is updated at least 2 times a day.

Q:What are "low accuracy" towers?
A:Low accuracy towers are towers whose location cannot be accurately predicted given the uploaded data. Therefore, they revert to a more simple algorithm of placing the tower closest to the location of the best signal strength. This will usually be significantly less accurate than the triangulation method normally used. Some towers that only have 1 or two cells, such as omnidirectional towers, will always be low accuracy. Likewise, any towers which were detected with weaker signals will also be low accuracy until stronger signal samples are uploaded.

Q:Why do I not see the frequency on the map for the region I mapped?
A:Frequencies are only reported by BlackBerry devices in a standardized fashion. So you will need to use a BlackBerry device to map the regions and use "live upload" (CSV will not save this information).