There seems to be a convention in the telecoms industry that when mapping copper or fibre networks in a GIS product, the maps should be the driver into the line plant inventory system. This is a problem for two reasons: network planners are generally not CAD engineers, and the cost of training a network planner to be a CAD engineer is very expensive. Confideo have been working to streamline this process to make the line plant inventory drive the production of GIS maps, CAD drawings and network schematics.
We have had a GIS mapping module in TNAPS Line Plant for a number of years. It has been used for plotting the location of network equipment over satellite images and vector based data of buildings and roads etc, engineer tracking via GPS enabled PDA devices and the capturing of network node location co-ordinates. The GIS module was a nice to have. It was never our primary focus – that was the network storage and management side of TNAPS Line Plant.
TNAPS Line Plant has been successful with Tier 2/3 telecoms companies because of the fast, simplified data-driven rules based approach to building network or installing new elements in to the network. It doesn’t just store records of the network like some modified CRM systems; it allows our customers to manage their network.
In the latest update to Confideo GIS Mapping, the network elements are still being added to the maps and all the original functionality still exists. But now, Confideo GIS Mapping stores the physical connections between the network elements. TNAPS Line Plant stores the links between network elements through its storage of cables and joints e.g. between the MDF, cabinets, and distribution points. The links in Confideo GIS Mapping are effectively trenches in the road* that contain ducts, which in turn contain cables. A trench* can contain many different types of duct which can then contain many different types of cables – copper, fibre or both. TNAPS Line Plant already stores the physical type of duct e.g. its dimensions and capacity etc.
Because TNAPS Line Plant knows which cables connect network elements together, the population of this information by the network planner is easy. They simply create a duct, and choose from the cables that link the network elements together.
The co-ordinates of the network elements can be gathered through the GPS enabled PDAs and moved to a more accurate position through the interface in the office later (GPS accuracy can only be guaranteed to within 3 meters as a maximum). To find out more about Confideo GIS Mapping and its integration with TNAPS Line Plant then get in touch. We will be more than happy to give a WebEx demonstration over the internet.