Fifteen years ago, the role of GIS in telecommunications networks was somewhat limited. Still, Michael Measels, VP Product Management, 3-GIS, and Patrick Huls, Senior Solutions Engineer at Esri, believe it’s a much different story.

The migration from desktop-based to web-based operations took its time, but now the telecom world is ready to adapt cloud-based GIS technology solutions.

“GIS has always been a support tool, maybe for the design, maybe for the physical network,” Huls said. “A lot of that still happens today behind the scenes. But I think what we’re seeing is a trend where GIS and location are becoming more and more important in the industry, and that is because of the evolving networks of the communications network.”

With the advent of 5G and the complexity of today’s network architecture, designers need spatial tools to handle mapping and designing these networks from anywhere. GIS provides that assistance network designers need.

“Location is a driver to planning and engineering these networks as more complex technologies come into play,” Measels said. “Now, as this convergence between wired and wireless networks happens, we see the necessity and interlock between these two entities with customers more and more.”

“As companies move towards GIS-based ecosystems to deliver their telecommunications services, they ultimately see the benefit by meeting these build-outs at scale,” Measels said. “Building out at scale is the idea of being able to provide service to customers as quickly as possible that either haven’t had it, were dissatisfied with their existing service provider, or were not getting the necessarily required speeds in today’s digital economy.”

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