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Thread: Is there anything similar to WirelessAdvisor.com's "Cell Tower Gallery"?

  1. #1
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    Is there anything similar to WirelessAdvisor.com's "Cell Tower Gallery"?

    As I've posted a few places here on HoFo, I'm a beginner to the smartphone world, and am still developing my learning and information collecting methods, while still just learning how to use the phone. The play of forces determining how the phone behaves is much more complex than the personal computer world.

    Before I can even start to understand the nature of the towers in my area that have Verizon service, I have to locate all the towers. The crowdsourced information I've found doesn't seem accurate, so I'm starting at the beginning to figure it out for myself. In other words, before being able to contribute to those projects, I have to know where the towers are, how to reach them, and drive circles around them.

    Meanwhile I see that on the specific carrier's forums here, the savvy users can just look at a tower and by the make and configuration of the equipment, determine the carrier.

    But is there any equivalent to WirelessAdvisor.com's geographically based "Cell Tower Picture Gallery"?
    https://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/g...ing-catalog.4/

    (E.g., the iconic tower closest to me is https://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/g...and-bay-1.977/
    But that entry is somewhat old. I have more current pictures.)

    I had planned to post one picture of each of the towers I've photographed there, and have all the rest of the pics for the towers on an image sharing site. Then refer to that site, as I post my questions here.

    But, per a recent thread there, titled "Is Wireless Advisor dying?" they may be closing down soon.
    https://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/t...r-dying.87045/

    So my question is if there is any forum here with that structure, or any other site that catalogs towers (and antennas) by geography?

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    That won't be enough to accurately depict your future experience.

    Only testing yourself will be truly indicative.
    If my actions include deeds of philanthropy in charity and acts of loving kindness I am living in my Faith.

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    [QUOTE=zapjb;17088127Only testing yourself will be truly indicative.[/QUOTE]

    Right. I have folders on my hard disk with pictures of towers I've taken, based on AntennaSearch.com data, and tracked and noted in Excel spreadsheets. In the few months I've had the smartphone, AntennaSearch has gone from a radius of 2 miles, down from 4 miles. And I've seen three cell towers have work done to them, only one of which I've made "before" pictures.

    I'm looking for a public place to post the pictures I'm accumulating, to be able to point out some for comment on HoFo.

    The various carrier specific forums here have ad hoc pictures of towers and antennas, but in running threads, not organized by geographical location. E.g., if I were to want to see all that's been posted about the Verizon towers in Mobile, Alabama, there is no easy way to search for that here, or anywhere else it seems. The structure of WA's Cell Tower Gallery is a good way to do that, but seems like no one really used it.

    I do plan to join and contribute to the MLS/OpenCelliD/Unwired Labs and CellMapper.net projects, to hopefully help correct their data.

    But before exploring which towers are or are not Verizon, I need to know where the towers are.

    AntennaSearch is like training wheels for those who haven't yet learned to use the FCC's own databases, but is a good start.

    And I also have spreadsheets full of tests with decibels of strength on which band at what location, and have been learning how to chart all this on Google's My Maps.

    It just seems odd that there is no public repository of such information.

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    I'm confused by your post. Don't worry you're not the first.

    Are you just mapping antennas/towers?

    Or do you care about your cell phone usability experience?

    They are two different things.

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    What I trying to figure out is why some places my web pages load slow, while other places they load at acceptable speeds.

    Which Verizon antenna(s) my phone is communicating with is what determines the quality of my service, at that moment.

    Since that info is not readily directly knowable, I find that I need to figure out how to determine the location of the Verizon antennas my phone routinely connects with. The crowdsourced locations of towers don't match what I see with my own two eyes.

    What would be nice to have as a resource would be a searchable database of known towers, similar to what Wireless Advisors has, organized by state. If every tower out there had various people uploading actual photographs periodically, over time we would have a historic record of the antennas on all the towers, that anyone could search.

    Then, there could be the discussions of which carriers are on that tower, referring to the picture.

    For example. today I was trying to take pictures of a supposed Verizon tower, but it isn't possible to get very close to it.

    Then later, I was at a Walmart, that had a very easy to photograph newer style macro tower, but very likely doesn't have Verizon antennas on it. Those pics would be useful for somebody, if not me, so I could look at a place where those tower pics would "go" I could upload them.

    Similarly, maybe someone has already taken better pics of the supposed Verizon tower, then I could refer to them, not needing my own.

    I've seen on some speed test discussions here on HoFo how people will look at Google Maps historical images of towers, to compare changes, but if some person had real pics uploaded to a database, that woudn't be needed. Google may not have pics for the time period needed, or have ones that are too blurry to be useful.

    Once I know the locations of the actual towers in my area, I can then proceed to figure out whether they do or don't have Verizon on them.

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    Considering all this seems not as useful as real life testing of specific phones & carriers by far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rd10221 View Post
    What I trying to figure out is why some places my web pages load slow, while other places they load at acceptable speeds.

    Which Verizon antenna(s) my phone is communicating with is what determines the quality of my service, at that moment.
    There are other reasons why web pages load slow that have nothing to do with your signal, antennas or Verizon.




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    The third generation of wireless communications beyond digital PCS (2G) technologies. 3G wireless technologies allow for much higher transmission rates of voice and data to wireless devices leading to more useful services and a better user experience.

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    A similar question is if there is a Verizon equivalent to S4GRU's Equipment Spotting forum at:
    https://s4gru.com/forums/forum/45-equipment-spotting/
    Described as: "The Equipment Spotting threads show pictures and information to help you spot network equipment in the wild, varied by OEM Vendor.

    They seem to have a members area where even better information is available. (Members must mean paid for.)

    Is anybody here familiar with that members area, and what additional information is there?
    And is any Verizon info mixed in, as there is some technical similarities, though Sprint seems to have more hobbyists/enthusiasts out there.

  10. #10
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    In a more obscure place on S4GRU, there sort of similar Verizon equipment spotting thread:
    Home > Forums > The Everything Else Forum > General Topics > VZW Equipment spotting
    where at least one prominent HoFo poster has contributed with one post, while he has what must be hundreds here on:
    Home > Forum > US Carrier Discussion > Verizon Wireless > Verizon 4G LTE Speed Test Results: POST EM' HERE!

    And the S4GRU Verizon equipment thread doesn't have whatever maps the Sprint members pay extra for.

    So I'm back to my question if the Sprint S4GRU paid members are entering better info than gets onto public sites like CellMapper.net?

    Meanwhile, I've seen commercial companies sell this info (cell tower location info) to other businesses.

  11. #11
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    Another tangent to my question is what do with cellular antennas mixed in with others on towers at a secret government facility.

    There is one visible on my daily drive to work, but unlike most other tower sites in the area (Mobile County, Alabama), where one can simply drive up to the actual fence and take pictures of the power meters and other equipment, all of the towers in this complex, while having their individual fences, are inside a greater fence surrounding the various entities that make up the facility.

    A week or two a new tower appeared on the other side of the road than the main facility, and is still under construction, but it, too has a greater surrounding fence.

    My interest isn't in the secret government antennas, which attracted some attention in the short-lived thread at:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/th...eodore.359046/, where it was closed after just one week, but the cellular companies that are present there.
    (I noticed that the 30° 30' 28.83" N, 88° 13' 32.70" W given in that post is more accurate than what AntennaSearch has for it.)

    If and when I put my still growing collection of tower pictures online, and ask the HoFo crowd to help identify whose equipment is on which tower, would there be problems for HoFo if pics of that facility were included? Google Maps Street View does show a lot of it.

    The towers locations are all in AntennaSearch.com, so some aspects of them are public record.

    The new one that just appeared is for "Tillman Infrastructure LLC" at 30.5106666666667, -88.2241388888889 = 30° 30' 38.4" N, 88° 13' 26.9" W.

    If anybody is local to this, and wants to explain more via direct message, I'd be interested.

  12. #12
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    The lack of a geographical organization here means that someone is getting a new cell tower, but there is no easy way to post about it. That tower is still being constructed, and as of 11-30-19 looked like this:
    Name:  100_1735.jpg
Views: 33
Size:  54.5 KB

    The panels are still on the ground, as of 12-08-19:
    Name:  100_1784.jpg
Views: 32
Size:  62.7 KB

    Since work is going on, I don't want to get too close, as the crew might alert the security for the government facility, even though it looks now like this may just be an ordinary cellular tower, after all.

    When the panels do get mounted, I still won't know where to post the finished tower pics to get the assessment of whose antennas are on it.

  13. #13
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    Since I thought that last week, when I stopped there after church, when that black pickup truck also arrived, that maybe they don't start work until around noon, maybe not working Sunday morning, so they can attend church, I stopped by on the way to church this morning, but though there was nobody there then, the black truck showed up immediately.

    Although there is a front gate to the area when the actual fenced site is, the back way, which is also an entrance to the US90 Dragway, that can be driven right into, without any barriers. And that is where their construction materials are. The panels that were on the ground last week are now partially mounted, with guy wires still attached.

    I explained to the man that keeping up with these towers is a hobby of mine. His concern is material being stolen. I explained that my interest would be seeing the make of the equipment going up, and that some people are even able to post pics of panels with the work orders, giving technical details. For the sake of recording the signals broadcast the finished tower is ultimately of more interest, and asked how long until it is finished, so I can come back to photograph it then, without bothering anybody, as that is how these discussions go.

    What I would need is a way to convey the thought that some in this hobby would pay money to be able to grab some tools and take part in the work.

    So, in the meanwhile, since I'm passing by a view of the top of the tower above the tree line simply going to work every day, and church every Sunday, I can take pics unobserved from one turnoff, and can make a detour to that street, and simply take pics from the public road of the progress, so I both document the progress and be aware of when it is finished.

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