Risto H. Kurppa risto at
Wed Jun 10 07:07:37 CEST 2009


I've been able to run openbmap (see for about a week now,
here are some experiences:

- Collecting cell id's is MUCH more easier than contributing to all you need to do is start the openbmap app, make
sure it has 3d fix, press the 'generate' -button (that'll be renamed
to 'start' or 'log' or something soon :) and off you go. It records
all the cells it sees. When you go inside, press 'quit' or 'stop'.
When you get connected to Internet, press 'Upload'. That's it. (ok,
before uploading you need to register at -> no need to
go and analyze the saved data afterwards.

- I already discussed with Onen (#openmoko-cdevel) some issues in the
client app (= I have no idea what all the numbers mean and OTOH it'd
be nice to have it work as a daemon eating as little resources as
possible, OTOH it'd be nice to have the possibility to see a
visualization of the data collected)

- about the website - it's nice to see the servers
up&running again! I was surprised to get over 700 cells collected by
just driving a car for 250km and taking a train back and taking a bus
for 30 minutes in the city. Hard to believe I'd have seen 700 cells
but if they tell I did..

- Maps - this is the 'visualization' part of the project and I think
that is what makes people interested and contribute - like every FLOSS
software homepage should have 'screenshots' as one of the main menu
items. Now you can select the country, mobile network, location area
code and single cell to see the coverage there.
( )

Since all I know is the country code and my cell operator.
- sort the country list alphabetically - people don't have any idea of
country codes (that are not the same as the phone country code:
calling to finland needs +358 but the cell country code is 244...).
- ok, I'm fine with selecting the mobile operator, that's something
most of us know - but maybe sort again alphabetically, not based on
the code none of us has ever seen..
- but selecting the location area code - give me a break! So far we
have 40 - 100 codes for single operator in Finland. If I wanted to
know what's the coverage on the area of my interest, I have to just
try to find the area I want by trying the list. And when I finally
find that, I have to go through all the single cells individually.
Noooot very inspiring.

  -> I think the country should be selected by the map: it should give
the central coordinates and size to be used in the database search
that then returns the information of cells. Different operators could
be visualized by different colour. And then when I zoom in, at some
stage it'd start showing the coverage if individual cells. And then
clicking on a cell coverage area could give me the numbers: country
id, operator, location area core, cell ID etc.. The current way
expects people to want to know the coverage on one operator on one
location area, and single cell instead of finding the cells in one
area - which I really believe is the approach people would use more.

So now we're waiting to be able to use all this information collected
by three projects (opencellid, cellhunter and openbmap -> all the data
has been imported to openbmap so atm it's the biggest & most precise
as most information is collected) to locate Freerunner. It'd be great
to have it somewhere in low levels so that GPS apps could maybe work
on this: some daemon just provides to location information, no matter
if it's a random guess, based on GPS, GSM cells or WLAN base stations.
Until that, please contribute to openbmap, it's easy & fun & the next
version of the client app will have some fixes that make using it even

Thanks for everyone who have contributed to this (including the people
of cellhunter & opencellid!)

ps. is it possible to download the whole data as a single file?


| risto h. kurppa
| risto at kurppa dot fi

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