OpenSignalMaps and BBC Data Survey

Welcome to any new visitors who’ve come via the BBC’s kind links to our study on UK 3G notspots – areas where 3G coverage is painfully limited.

The maps we produced show clear regional differences in the concentration of such notspots, with South East England performing well, while Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland lose out.

A couple of questions that we didn’t anticipate on the FAQ.

What’ve you done to my county?!
We got a couple of queries by email concerning the county map (pictured below – explore it in full here). We were questioned by one map user as to what had happened to Redcar & Cleveland, another pointed out that North Humberside is not a county. This is not intended as a map of political regions! The reason we aggregated geographically was to get a better picture of the data.

Unlike the BBC (as they note) we wanted to weight regions in terms of the number of users there, so that a region with a lower number of readings could have a high concentration of notspots. Without this sort of weighting the South East would appear no better than the rest of the country, simply because more readings means a greater likelihood of finding a notspot. To do this we needed to aggregate the data regionally to reach data subsets of statistical significance. Some regions use legacy or ‘preserved’ county names (which are in fact more agreeable to some people and less to others) and are larger than current counties. We hope that this method is useful, we find it makes it easier to compare the different areas of the UK, and we apologise for any confusion caused.

Incidentally if you want to see a map of the world without any borders and nameless roads, and it does look sort of weird, go to unmapping the world.

My crowd-sourcing survey’s bigger than yours!
We’ve also been asked about the quote from Epitiro’s CEO Gavin John “The BBC has undertaken a crowd-sourcing survey that is well beyond any scale seen by the mobile industry in this country or any other.” Umm, we’re not sure where he’s got that from! The BBC’s campaign heavily promoted Epitiro’s app which they had built especially for the purpose of the survey and initially made it popular in the UK, with about 50k downloads. However the OpenSignalMaps project, which has been running since December 2010, has over 800k downloads on Android, higher ratings and we are creating global maps. We will also launch on other platforms iPhone, Blackberry. We think the BBC survey is a great thing and we hope that, now it is over, users of their app will switch to us so we continue to build and report on our dataset and develop the best tools for comparing networks and the signal across the globe.

Join us on android!

The controversial 'county' map - really it's a map of more or less arbitrary regions, in order to makes sense of the data

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One Response to OpenSignalMaps and BBC Data Survey

  1. nicholsr says:

    I see that the BBC say that you gave them access to your data. Did they reciprocate? Do you have access to the BBC’s data.

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