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Penn Libraries News

Mobile Coverage Explorer: Global mobile telecom network shapefiles

Map of 3G coverage in Ghana as of 2015.

The Penn Libraries have licensed the Collins Bartholomew Mobile Coverage Explorer GIS data collection for use by Penn students, faculty, and staff. These ESRI shapefiles present annual coverages for mobile network providers with individual countries worldwide, starting with 1999 coverages. They are suitable for use with ArcGIS, QGIS, and other mapping software that can recognize the shp shapefile format.

Collins Bartholomew generates Mobile Coverage Explorer shapefiles from submissions by mobile network operators who are members of GSMA, the trade body for GSM, the Global System for Mobile Communications. For each country, individual operator network coverages are aggregated for the whole country.

Mobile Coverage Explorer distinguishes coverages for GMS (2G), 3G, and 4G networks. The Penn Libraries have licensed annual coverages for 2011 through 2017 and annual legacy coverages for 1994-2004 and 2006-2009. Legacy coverages may be fragmentary. Starting with the 2013 coverage, the data collection includes a metadata shapefile identifying contributing mobile network providers.

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July 24, 2019

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