10 Questions to Ask Before Any Geodata Purchase
We know it isn’t always easy to justify an update to your current geodata project. However, when you know your data is misrepresenting the area being planned or optimized – either through local knowledge or using a mapping application on the internet – it’s understandable to want an upgrade. If your budget is tight, and it usually is, the following questions might help you make a better investment in your next geodata purchase.
What is the minimum resolution I can use to accomplish my tasks?
Just because high‑resolution data is available for an area doesn’t mean it is necessary. Urban areas can usually be planned with 5m data with an urban model. Anything higher is just going to impact your computation time at any rate.
Do I really need 3D data?
If you’re using macro models, especially outside an urban area, you can probably use 20‑30m 2D data instead of 3D data. Many vendors will give a “great deal” on a whole area, where high‑res 3D data is only really needed in an urban area with the surrounding “donut” being suited for medium resolution 2D data.
What is the vintage of the data being offered?
Not unlike software products, the latest edition of geodata based on the most recent imagery also costs the most to produce. It’s reasonable to assume this same data will also cost the most to purchase. If you’re limited by your budget, why not consider some older data for areas where you know little change has occurred?
What is the source of the data being delivered?
Related to the question above, some unscrupulous vendors will sell “new data” which they have just created based upon older vintage imagery. Understanding the vintage of the data AND the imagery is key. Whenever possible, buy geodata based on the most recent imagery possible (e.g., within the past two years).
How many clutter classes are being used?
If your RF planning processes and methods of procedure utilize clutter classes for traffic planning purposes, make sure that your new vendor can match the classes provided by your former vendor. This is where some of the finer details in geodata creation come into play. While two vendors may sell 15‑clutter class data, the actual items they include in each category may be different. This can upset a uniform planning process.
How are updates handled?
Does your geodata vendor let you purchase just the incremental updates that you require to keep your data current or do they force you to update a whole area at a time? Some vendors can support incremental updates which can provide a cost‑effective way to supply current data to your engineers.
Have I bought from this vendor in the past?
We know there are always new vendors of geodata, but the words “buyer beware” should be heeded if a new vendor is offering data at prices that seem too good to be true. There are lots of tricks that can be played, i.e., selling data at a high output resolution such as 1‑5 meters while the source data was captured at a lower resolution (20m). Having a vendor that you’ve worked with in the past means that product quality will not be compromised.
Does the vendor support you through offices in your region?
Sometimes low‑cost producers deliver their products with little pre‑ and post‑sales support. This may make sense if you’re confident there won’t be issues related to projection and accuracy of the data. However, it’s not a good deal if the data isn’t usable.
Can the vendor support your planning tool format?
The wireless market has unique requirements for geodata that differ from the needs of video game or flight simulation developers, amongst others. Ensure that the vendor has experience in delivering data in your required planning tool format and make sure you mention any specific ray‑tracing models as these often have different input requirements.
Can the vendor deliver in the timeline required?
If the vendor doesn’t have the areas you require in their on‑shelf catalogue, confirm what their delivery timeline can be. Get it in writing and, if possible, have penalty clauses attached to late delivery.
Once you’ve asked these questions and acted on the responses you can confidently make your purchase.
News & Events
NAVTEQ Strategic Partnership
ComputaMaps has signed a strategic partnership with NAVTEQ whereby the company will be supplying worldwide street‑level map data to us for sale with our wireless planning product portfolio. NAVTEQ layers, including points of interest, street vectors/names and administrative zones, can now be delivered in the appropriate coordinate system and projections to complement your existing ComputaMaps data.
ComputaMaps Researcher Recognized in DigitalGlobe 8‑Band Research Challenge
Congratulations to our colleague Batsi Gwata, remote sensing specialist, for having his paper recognized by the judges of the DigitalGlobe 8‑Band Research Challenge.
His paper was titled Developing High Resolution Clutter for Wireless Network Propagation using WorldView‑2 Imagery.
Mobile World Congress
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Come meet our management and see our latest product offering.
Meetings can be set up in advance through your account representative.