project:mobility:gsm-towers

A mobile web app (for Firefox OS Marketplace and mobile web browsers) that shows the promixity of the user to the nearest radio communication tower in Switzerland. This allows a user without reception to know in which direction to walk to get a signal, or for people trying to go as offline as possible to find the nearest “hole” in reception.

Note: as signal quality varies strongly depending on the height difference and topography of the land, distance alone is not enough to paint an accurate picture of signal reception. This app may not be relied upon in an emergency.

Cell phone tower locations in Switzerland are provided by BAKOM (department of communications) on their old Web Geo site - see metadata records. They have now been migrated into layers of the GeoAdmin API, accessible through the main map or here: BAKOM - Standorte von Sendeanlagen.

For the hackday where this project started, a subset of the data for the Canton of Geneva was made available to us via the Geneva geoportal. Special thanks to Adrien Viera from SITG for his help with this.

An early screenshot of the hackday app

The current version loads data about GSM tower locations (UMTS and LTE can be added in a production release), positions the map with the HTML5 geolocation API, and creates a heatmap of antennas with geoservices of the GeoAdmin API and heatmap.js.

Built around a framework that is particularly suited to new Firefox OS phones, the app also has an experimental orientation sensor feature to rotate the map in sync with the compass on select handsets.

  • project/mobility/gsm-towers.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/11/14 06:11
  • by alicesmith