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626 posts

Ultimate Geek

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#190847 14-Jan-2016 14:42
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For over ten years I've been taking photos of cell sites as a personal hobby of mine. I have also enjoyed browsing photos of cell/TV/radio sites overseas such as After I gave a presentation about my hobby a few years ago, many people suggested that I share my photos online. So in response to positive interest, I have set up a website at which showcases my cell site photos. I've included over 700 photos of cell sites in New Zealand from December 2003 until the end of 2014. There are a few more batches of photos from last year I'm yet to upload.

The quality of the photos does vary as I do not have originals of all the photos taken during the earlier years (*note to self: backup, backup, backup*) and some have been taken by crappy camera phones. These photos are available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence which prohibits commercial use. However if you are wanting to use these photos for commercial use please get in touch with me via PM and I can provide a licence for commercial use of the original photo for a fee.

For some sites, there have been photos of the same location over a period of years which makes for interesting comparison to see what have changed over the years (e.g. switching from omnidirectional to sector antennas, UMTS/LTE upgrades, relocations, etc). Some good ones are:-
- Glendowie West (ex-Spark, ex-Vodafone)
- Glen Innes South (Spark)
- Glen Innes South (Vodafone)
- Kohimarama (Vodafone)
- Meadowbank North (Spark, Vodafone)
- Mission Bay (2degrees, Vodafone, Woosh)
- Mission Bay (Spark)
- Orakei East (2degrees, Spark)
- Orakei East (Vodafone)
- St Heliers (ex-Vodafone)

I've lived in Kohimarama for most of my life or so so that's why many of my photos are of East Auckland sites but there are many across Auckland as well as some around the country.

I also have a interest in collecting cell identities. The website also provides data on UMTS URA/CellID and LTE TAC/CellID for both Spark and Vodafone. As I have done most of the data collection on Spark LTE there is a lot of data for that network, especially in Auckland. I managed to get some data for Vodafone before I ported over to Spark a few months ago but there's not a lot there. No data for 2degrees because I have not been a 2degrees customer for a few years.

If you have an iPhone you can use the *3001#12345#* trick to get access to the UMTS Cell Environment -> UMTS RR Info screen (UMTS) or Serving Cell Info screen (LTE) to find the URA/TAC and CellID you are currently being served off and match it up with the data on the website. I understand Android phones have access to a range of apps which provide access to these data as well.

One important point to note is that the site names, e.g. "Orakei East (2degrees, Spark)", are all named by me. I decided early on not to use the operators' site names as it was too difficult to use them and still have it make sense. For example Vodafone has a site called Orakei right in the middle of Remuera while Spark has a site with the same name in Orakei proper. Spark's site is called "Orakei East (2degrees, Spark)" and to be consistent the Vodafone site next door is called "Orakei East (Vodafone)".

Please let me know via replying here or PMing me if you have any feedback about the website. I would also be happy to accept contributions of both photos and/or cell identity data. Just PM me to discuss how you can make your contributions. Any photos contributed will need to be CC licensed as well (with attribution to you).

- James

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890 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #1470911 14-Jan-2016 15:01
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Do I have the job for you... 

626 posts

Ultimate Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #1470994 14-Jan-2016 15:41
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knoydart: Do I have the job for you... 

I'm training to become a primary school teacher starting next week so a bit too late for that I'm afraid. :)

- James


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  #1470997 14-Jan-2016 15:46
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Nice effort! Marries up nicely with the GIS Geek cellsite. I may well have a few submissions for you as I travel around town (chch).

626 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #1471004 14-Jan-2016 15:57
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kingjj: Nice effort! Marries up nicely with the GIS Geek cellsite. I may well have a few submissions for you as I travel around town (chch).

Ah yes I wanted to mention that very useful resource in in my post, thank you for reminding me.

I would like to make it clear that my map isn't a designed as a replacement for the GIS Geek map. The map is a very comprehensive map that based on data in the RSM database. However the RSM database doesn't have very reliable data for a lot of cell sites and so the coordinates can be off by quite a huge amount. Also it is not uncommon to see licences in RSM still current for sites that have disappeared long ago. Or sites that have gone live without a licence. Or missing/orphan licences for frequencies that are being used and/or aren't being used.

My map is more focused on getting the most accurate coordinates possible for all the locations in the database, however the trade-off is that I only add a location to my database (and thus the map) if I am confident I have the coordinates right.

My map is quite useful for urban areas where the RSM data can be off by only a few 100m which is enough to make it difficult to identify sites in the CBD for example, whereas if you use my map you can zoom in right down and identify e.g. which light pole a microcell is attached to. This is quite helpful in areas where different networks have sites very close together.

I regularly use the GIS Geek maps to confirm there is a licence at a location I have found and also to discover new/relocated sites.

- James

626 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  #1473238 17-Jan-2016 16:06
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New photos uploaded today for:-


The next batch will have photos from the Canterbury region.


- James

626 posts

Ultimate Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #1477811 24-Jan-2016 15:26
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Today I have added 51 photos of 20 sites from my travels to Australia in 2011 and 2012.


Australian Capital Territory (ACT)


New South Wales (NSW)


Queensland (QLD)


Hope you find them an interest contrast with NZ sites.


- James

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