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Hi everyone - first post here. I looked around but couldnt find an answer.

My organization is helping radio stations across africa generate maps that as accurately as possible, visually show the reach of their radio signal for the average radio user.

We are planning on doing this with GEOJson, our own database and Mapbox - however, it occurred to me that it might be of interest to others to have this data be publicly available.

But I understand that OSM is mostly for physical features - not so much invisible things like radio signals. But if it were possible to create a "layer" that showed the radio signals perhaps so it didnt interfere with other features on OSM.

Very interested to know people's thoughts.


asked 06 Jan '15, 13:41

Bart%20-%20Farmradio's gravatar image

Bart - Farmr...
accept rate: 0%

  1. We have the concept of "verifiability". Radio signal strength is something that the average contributor cannot verify.

  2. we had in the past similar requests like radioactivity levels, noise polution, timezones, etc. We could create plenty of invisible polygons on the map. Since OSM editors are not able to manage easily layers, such invisible polygons for a limited public (unlike admin boundaries widely used for geocoding) is not really welcome in our global geodatabase. But we are happy if you create a mashup with OSM as background map ;-)

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answered 06 Jan '15, 15:07

Pieren's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

  1. Depends: My mobile phone can record signal strength in dBm for both mobile coverage and any WiFi APs it sees. This can be extended to other frequency ranges and types of transmissions using relatively cheap equipment no more exotic than a GPS receiver. So I don't think verifiability is an issue.

However, 2. As tempted as I am to like to have radio coverage on the maps I use, I don't think that should be a focus for OSM. Probably better to use OSM as background geographic data to overlay the signal strength map on.

(06 Jan '15, 19:39) n76

Well, verifiability will be an issue if you make some measurements in summer (leaves on the trees, especially when it's been raining) and some in winter (no leaves). :-)

(06 Jan '15, 20:04) SomeoneElse ♦

@stf: verifiability is an issue, esp. as signal strength and SNR varies wildly depending on equipment used (e.g. my old cellphone has excellent mobile coverage where the new one only reports mediocre, on the same network, in the same physical location).

(07 Jan '15, 10:33) Piskvor

There are other VGI projects that have special interests: Maybe openBmap is able to integrate such details and we all can get a geoposition by a list of radios, soon :-)

(07 Jan '15, 17:29) iii

I would be inclined to agree that its best to keep it seperate

There is no reason at all why you can't still release your data with an open licence (CC-By etc). It can then be mashed with OSM data in QGIS or whatever to give an accurate representation by anyone who wishes to use it.

Best of both worlds

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answered 06 Jan '15, 16:43

DaCor's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

Hi @DaCor - happy to release the data of the mashup. Since I'm still finding my way around OSM, would that data be hosted on OSM or on our own server and then made available as a zipped file of geojson coordinates or shapefiles (for example)?

Also - we are planning to use mapbox for our mashups, as it allows for some custom basemaps/tiles - but I think they also use OSM no?

(07 Jan '15, 13:23) Bart - Farmr...

You wouldn't need to release the mashup data, just your own raw data. There are a multitude of formats you could release under, but yes geojson is as good as any. See for where additional download options were added simply to allow greater usage of the data.

Depending on what you are using, you should have an option to export in a number of formats. The more the better

(07 Jan '15, 16:02) DaCor

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question asked: 06 Jan '15, 13:41

question was seen: 4,297 times

last updated: 07 Jan '15, 17:29

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum