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317 posts

Ultimate Geek
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# 177486 4-Aug-2015 11:11
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As an EX cellular technician, I am curious as to which cellsite my phone happens to be connected to.

Back in the GSM days, I was able to watch my phone change from site to site as I moved around, and I found this to be interesting. This was called “cellsite broadcasting”.

Along came 3G and I was no longer able to find out which cellsite I was connected to any longer. But after much searching, I have found three Android apps that can work out the approximate location of the site to which I am connected.

The best App for me, is a widget that I have on my Android home screen. Called “Cell Widget” by Dieter Thiess, Ver 1.7.4 it can be found in the Android playstore.
(The other two apps I have used are "Netmonitor" ver 1.0.81 and "Network Signal Info Pro" ver 2.70.13).
Unfortunately, it can’t give pinpoint site accuracy, but instead it works out the approximate site address, and displays it as something like “24 Smith St, Auckland”.

There are however two problems, firstly accuracy – the actual site may be a kilometre or more from “24 Smith St, Auckland”, and secondly, I am unlikely to know where Smith St is anyway! The app can show on a map the location of “24 Smith St” hence you can work out the nearest suburb in which the site is located, and you can then allocate the cell ID concerned with a more meaningful name. In the example of “24 Smith St”, I would then allocate that result with a more meaningful name of say “Parnell” and in future when the phone acquired that same site (actually that cellID) it displays “Parnell” instead of ‘24 Smith St, Auckland”. This tells me with all the accuracy I need, and in a meaningful way, where my phone is connecting.

Over the last few months I have been updating the wiget's database (a text format .clf file) as I drive around, and now I get meaningful indications as to which site my phone is connected (Just like cellsite broadcasting did). In the suburbs this is mildly interesting, however, when I drive more rurally, I find it interesting to be on “Glenbrook” one moment and then “Glen Eden” the next. (EG, if driving along the Waitakeres).

The app can also display signal strength (dBm), MCC and MNC, Data speed connection, Cell ID and LAC info. Display font colour and background are all configurable. All in almost real time.

Has anyone else used this app, or created a database of Spark cell site locations, or better still, does anybody have a database of Spark sites, locations and cellID’s used. If so, I would be keen to share information. (I have already found .KML files on the internet giving site locations, but without cellID information also, I can’t use the data).

Otherwise, I hope my discovery of "Cell Widget" is useful to other 'like minded' and 'curious about their cellular signal' Android users.

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870 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 1358547 4-Aug-2015 11:38
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There are a few options out there. I have an app called "Cell Map" which seems to be connected to the google API I think. Otherwise the open signal app has lists and maps for at least 3G site, not sure about the 4G sites but one to look at. The gis.geek.nz site pulls information from the RSM database (I hear there are site upgrades in the works) which is pretty neat or there is the Geekzone linked cell site map at the top of this page as well. 



317 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  # 1358639 4-Aug-2015 12:43
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knoydart: Otherwise the open signal app has lists and maps for at least 3G site, not sure about the 4G sites but one to look at. The gis.geek.nz site pulls information from the RSM database


Thanks for that.

The gis.geek.nz site is a new one to me. I suspect it has the most up to date info on it.



 
 
 
 




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Ultimate Geek
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  # 1358678 4-Aug-2015 13:43
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freitasm: Or just click the link available in all Geekzone pages to the NZ Cellsite map, by Bartender...


Yeah, not sure what's happening there - each time I click I get an 'almost' blank page. (Using Win7 pro, and Firefox). Just shows a text box, and a dropdown box with the choice of 1-5km options. Otherwise a blank page!

What I am really hoping someone has, is a site location to cellID database for Spark. So far, all I have is my own database, no doubt full of errors!

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  # 1358844 4-Aug-2015 17:02
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6 or 8 years ago I was right into this using an awesome S60 app. The novelty has long worn off :-)

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Ultimate Geek
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  # 1370879 20-Aug-2015 13:49
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Hiamie:
knoydart: Otherwise the open signal app has lists and maps for at least 3G site, not sure about the 4G sites but one to look at. The gis.geek.nz site pulls information from the RSM database


Thanks for that.

The gis.geek.nz site is a new one to me. I suspect it has the most up to date info on it.




Great site. Does anyone know how often the RSM data is updated on it?

 
 
 
 


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  # 1370944 20-Aug-2015 16:18
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Hiamie:
freitasm: Or just click the link available in all Geekzone pages to the NZ Cellsite map, by Bartender...


Yeah, not sure what's happening there - each time I click I get an 'almost' blank page. (Using Win7 pro, and Firefox). Just shows a text box, and a dropdown box with the choice of 1-5km options. Otherwise a blank page!

What I am really hoping someone has, is a site location to cellID database for Spark. So far, all I have is my own database, no doubt full of errors!


It never worked for me either w7 and opera. Only got what you describe too.

A.

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  # 1370987 20-Aug-2015 16:47
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Was being "Blocked" by browser as unsafe origin.

Now all I can see is googlemap without anything overlaid.

To get data need to enter the address in the bar at the top right. Seems by default only shows gmap.

A.


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  # 1371021 20-Aug-2015 17:59
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myfullflavour:
Hiamie:
knoydart: Otherwise the open signal app has lists and maps for at least 3G site, not sure about the 4G sites but one to look at. The gis.geek.nz site pulls information from the RSM database


Thanks for that.

The gis.geek.nz site is a new one to me. I suspect it has the most up to date info on it.




Great site. Does anyone know how often the RSM data is updated on it?

Weekly, but in practise I think they may get updated data to load from Telco's maybe monthly or sometimes longer. I think GIS then pulls the update every couple of weeks or few.






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  # 1371205 20-Aug-2015 21:38
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The RSM access database is updated weekly but the telco data in it should be done before the site is live, as they need a licence to transmit. So SMART on rsm.govt.nz is always current if you want the latest licensing information.

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Uber Geek
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  # 1371234 20-Aug-2015 22:23
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I exported the KMZ to a usable garmin POI database once. Sure filled the screen up quick! 

Side effect made it realllly slow :) And searches sucked as it included them all.

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