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OpenSignalMaps Founder requests feedback from S4GRU Members


bgill5

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Founder of OpenSignalMaps here,

 

Not sure if you have seen our app at all, but we are big fans of your site. We'd be very interested to hear if you find our app useful for tracking the 4G roll out or if not - what could we do to make it better? We're open to any constructive criticism at all & are constantly working to refine both the app and the information on the website.

 

We're currently working on an overhaul of our android application which we are pretty excited about - should be out by the end of October.

 

Brendan

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Founder of OpenSignalMaps here,

 

Not sure if you have seen our app at all, but we are big fans of your site. We'd be very interested to hear if you find our app useful for tracking the 4G roll out or if not - what could we do to make it better? We're open to any constructive criticism at all & are constantly working to refine both the app and the information on the website.

 

We're currently working on an overhaul of our android application which we are pretty excited about - should be out by the end of October.

 

Brendan

 

1) I suggest that you lose the "towers" imputed mapping function, which is wildly inaccurate disinformation. We have to spend a lot of time debunking it for newbies here who see this stuff on your site and believe this is where the towers actually are.

 

2) Fix the log your app produces locally (I think it is called BSLocationLog.csv) to include useful information. Right now, its lat/lon coordinates are not current, it conflates the CDMA base station IDs with LTE signals giving the false impression that the LTE signal and the concurrent CDMA connection are coming from the same place, and garbles the signal strength data into some muddled metric that does not relate to raw data collected on the Android.

 

If you provided a log file with accurate signal strength for LTE signals (in dBm RSRP), along with accurate and timely coordinates, that would be useful information. Including an ID that actually corresponds to the the LTE radio, such as the Serving Cell information available in the LTE Engineering screen of the Galaxy S 3, would be a huge plus.

 

As it is, I tried using OpenSignalMaps for logging, and uninstalled it.

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Founder of OpenSignalMaps here,

 

Not sure if you have seen our app at all, but we are big fans of your site. We'd be very interested to hear if you find our app useful for tracking the 4G roll out or if not - what could we do to make it better? We're open to any constructive criticism at all & are constantly working to refine both the app and the information on the website.

 

We're currently working on an overhaul of our android application which we are pretty excited about - should be out by the end of October.

 

Brendan

I would think this would make a great discussion in a separate thread. ;)

 

Sent from my still LTEless Evo 4G LTE...

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1) I suggest that you lose the "towers" imputed mapping function, which is wildly inaccurate disinformation. We have to spend a lot of time debunking it for newbies here who see this stuff on your site and believe this is where the towers actually are.

 

2) Fix the log your app produces locally (I think it is called BSLocationLog.csv) to include useful information. Right now, its lat/lon coordinates are not current, it conflates the CDMA base station IDs with LTE signals giving the false impression that the LTE signal and the concurrent CDMA connection are coming from the same place, and garbles the signal strength data into some muddled metric that does not relate to raw data collected on the Android.

 

If you provided a log file with accurate signal strength for LTE signals (in dBm RSRP), along with accurate and timely coordinates, that would be useful information. Including an ID that actually corresponds to the the LTE radio, such as the Serving Cell information available in the LTE Engineering screen of the Galaxy S 3, would be a huge plus.

 

As it is, I tried using OpenSignalMaps for logging, and uninstalled it.

 

Great suggestion here, I'd expand to all the signals, log the 1X, 3G, and LTE separately and report on each individually.

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Sad part is I spent way too long trying to find out why my moderate option wasn't available in Tapatalk before I realized that I wasn't on the forum that I moderate.

Sent from my still LTEless Evo 4G LTE...

 

HAHAHAHA! That's too funny.

 

Robert

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boomerbubba - thanks for the detailed comments. Let me address them one by one:

 

1) I understand your frustration with this. We're working on a series of accuracy improvements as we speak that will utilize a lot more accumulated information to improve the accuracy. There are a lot of challenges with this data and its a work in progress but we're working towards a longer term goal and I think its worth it. We are looking at better ways of communicating this to users, one of which is a confidence rating which takes into account the amount of data we have on a given tower and a series of different parameters.

 

2) Can you clarify what is meant by "lat/lon coordinates are not current"? You mean that the location records simply relate to older locations rather than the current? If so, would like to look into this in detail.

 

For your other comments we are very interested in getting all radio information available. As we understand it there are some difficulties though and not all handsets provide access to LTE signal strength and LTE tower information. Are you getting different results? We've found methods available on some devices but its not consistent across handsets and our users are on a lot of different models.

 

Please keep the comments coming!

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boomerbubba - thanks for the detailed comments. Let me address them one by one:

 

1) I understand your frustration with this. We're working on a series of accuracy improvements as we speak that will utilize a lot more accumulated information to improve the accuracy. There are a lot of challenges with this data and its a work in progress but we're working towards a longer term goal and I think its worth it. We are looking at better ways of communicating this to users, one of which is a confidence rating which takes into account the amount of data we have on a given tower and a series of different parameters.

 

2) Can you clarify what is meant by "lat/lon coordinates are not current"? You mean that the location records simply relate to older locations rather than the current? If so, would like to look into this in detail.

 

For your other comments we are very interested in getting all radio information available. As we understand it there are some difficulties though and not all handsets provide access to LTE signal strength and LTE tower information. Are you getting different results? We've found methods available on some devices but its not consistent across handsets and our users are on a lot of different models.

 

Please keep the comments coming!

 

As for the lat/lon coordinates, my experience was limited to one day testing. When I looked at the logs, it did not appear to me that the lat/lon coordinates were being updated for the actual location of each signal record even though I had been moving around. Identical coordinates just seemed to repeat for many records in a row. Maybe this was a bug, not bad design.

 

Going forward, tf you do separate the conflated records for different type of data connections, there certainly is a possibility that not all fields can be populated for all records. And the raw values for dBm are calculated and reported differently for different connection types (RSRP vs RSSI), etc.) So any generalized reporting would have to accommodate those and distinguish them in the logs.

 

I understand your difficulties getting the LTE signal data. AFAIK, Google's Android telephony API still does not have a neat, standardized method to expose them. So I guess until that happens, app developers have to dig into the non-standard APIs offered by different OEMs. (I have seen some callback methods to the hidden APIs described as a workaround by some app developers, but I think they are discovered more than advertised by the OEMs.)

 

I thought you must at least be doing that kind of workaround for LTE signal strength on major flagship handsets like the Samsung GS3 and transforming that value into your generalized column for signal. Because there are values for signal in those logged LTE records. Are they really just coming from the concurrent CDMA connection? That is even worse. Wrong data is not better than null data when the content is unknown.

 

I also understand that there is no standard ID value and location per base station available in the Android API for a carrier's LTE radio. These values, which are not well understood, seems to be displayed differently within the hidden menus of different OEMs' implementations.

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Thanks again.

 

We'll look into the issue with lat/lng co-ords and see what we can dig up.

 

You are right about there being no official android APIs for LTE signal/towers but we have fished up some of the unofficial methods.

 

We should mark clearly if a signal is CDMA or LTE and store it separately Initially it wasn't clear which Android was reporting but as it transgressed we realized it was CDMA and so were aware of that in our log data. However, we were guilty of thinking about it from our perspective rather than as a tool for users to log and export their own data so we need to rectify that asap.

 

There is also an ongoing issues with the standard GSM/CDMA signal strength on a lot of the flagship Galaxy devices which you are all probably aware of. We've lobbied hard with contacts at Google/Samsung to fix but its taking time. We would appreciate any interested parties to weigh in here: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=18336

 

Let us know if there is any more feedback.

 

Brendan

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