How to get cell tower locations and WiFi sites locations

Discussion in 'Global Navigation Satellite Systems' started by Johnson, May 26, 2010.

  1. Johnson

    Johnson Guest

    Does anybody know how to get the nearby cell tower locations and WiFi
    sites locations? Is this information open and free to the public?

    I think at least one company says that it operates an extensive global
    almanac of cell tower locations and WiFi sites. So I guess this kind of
    information is not privacy, but I am not sure if it is free (to download
    or obtain).

    Any thought will be highly appreciated.

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    Johnson, May 26, 2010
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  2. Johnson

    Wayne R. Guest

    I'm on the user end of this, working with cell sites all the time. But
    I'm not on the aggregation or the database end.

    Most cell sites in the US are owned & operated by MTOs (Major Tower
    Operators) who own the land/compound & towers. They lease space on the
    ground and on the towers to the carriers. A single tower can have
    several carriers on it. And, as in the Chicago area, zoning deals (who
    knows?) have created little tower farms where you can see clusters of

    Anyway, the point of what I want to share is that you can get lots of
    data of all this stuff, but every MTO uses different naming
    conventions and so do all the carriers. Add the sheer quantity of
    sites and the problem quickly turns into a naming mess. Then add all
    the differing technologies each carrier operates. GIS is the only real
    tool I know of to even try to get a handle on it all.

    Some degree of this info might be available from the FCC. AGL magazine
    carries ads for most of the database collections and MTOs.
    Wayne R., May 27, 2010
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  3. Johnson

    isw Guest

    Check out <>

    isw, May 27, 2010
  4. Johnson

    miso Guest
    For CDMA, this should be very accurate. For GSM, the cell site comes
    off of a database that is often wrong.
    Blackberry only.
    miso, Jun 7, 2010
  5. Johnson

    dold Guest

    For my AT&T BBerry, GSM, the database isn't "wrong", just misunderstood ;-).
    It seems to put cell towers in the location of the cell phone, which over
    time, averaged across GPS-equipped phones, should be pretty good.
    Out in the sticks, it seems to be population centers, maybe skewed a little
    toward highways.

    Edge-30000-30-32641-48 is not in the middle of a lake, as far as I have
    observed, but I can believe that is the geographic center of all reported
    instances of connecting to that tower.
    dold, Jun 7, 2010
  6. Johnson

    miso Guest

    Your statements contradict that of the authors of the program. I've
    gone over this quite a bit in the fairview forum.

    In a nutshell, urban cell site locations are set by the municipality
    in charge rather than the FCC. The FCC grants a regional license, then
    if the municipality is happy, the FCC is happy. Thus the records are
    not as well as say the FCC database which has coordinates for every
    transmitter. Google bought a company with a database of the GSM sites,
    but the database is not very good.

    Somewhere on the Fairview forum under signal locator is an URL of bay
    area A&T sites from a person who tracked them down with a service

    Both T-Mobile and AT&T have cell site websites, but they are not very
    good, or more correctly not universally good. Sometimes the location
    is on the money, other times there is nothing there at the location in

    In the boonies, getting a tower location is much easier. The locations
    are much like traditional FCC transmitter sites.
    miso, Jun 8, 2010
  7. Johnson

    Johnson Guest

    Thank you for sharing!

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    Johnson, Jun 8, 2010
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