Mapinfo for Telecom - Part 1

Friday, January 14, 2011 9:52:00 AM Categories: Mapinfo
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To work with telecom and IT, it is not enough only haveing a good knowledge of theoretical concepts and practical activities in the area. It is of utmost importance to know anything else that can help us to become more efficient in our work.

This is particularly the case for some programs and applications, that once used properly, really worth it. As an example of well-known programs, highlight Excel - that i wrote an article about it: link. But we have several other interesting programs, such as Mapinfo - which although not a specific software area of Telecom or IT can be very well used for this goal.

So we start the series of articles in a simple and direct way, with information and tips for Mapinfo Professional Telecom and IT. Note: If you work or want to work one day in this area of Telecom, it is worth to know!


The Program

In the area of telecommunications, georeferenced information processing programs are almost mandatory. MapInfo is one of those programs.
Whether to plot drive test information, to view a cellular network with sites and cells, or even analyze the performance indicators of the system, you can count on  Mapinfo.

And to improve, if you want to go a little further, MapInfo has a programming language itself - the Mapbasic - which lets you create compiled applications (MBX), more or less as macros that can be executed within the program itself - even creating user interface.

But it is not my purpose to dwell much on the program. Also because these tips are for anyone who has used at least sometimes.

Just to illustrate, the figure shows a Mapinfo Workspace sites with information plotted as small red circles, the sectors as blue lines and any one indicator - eg signal level - as small gray circles.


Downloadable files

Unlike the way it did before - where the files of the tutorials were sent only to subscribers - site contributors - the backup files can now be downloaded directly to each article.


And we to the point ...

Made a (very brief) introducion to the program, let's go.

As I said when I started the series of tips Excel for Telecom, you will also find many sites with tips from Mapinfo. The difference here is that I just trying to show the most interesting, what we need to learn. And done.

Of course, when it comes to knowledge, the more the better, I'll just trying to prioritize, focusing on training professionals increasingly versatile. As I think it's worth posting the tip, I publish.

And if you have any interesting tip, such that everyone would like to know, please share. Send to contact. I publish, and put your name in the credits.


Spider Chart

In this first article, we'll see a tip about using Mapinfo to generate spider graphic ... How??

Okay, I got scared the first time I heard about this chart. But like everything in life, when we realized how something hitherto unknown can be useful to us, turns from resistance into acceptance.

And to create the Spider Graph Mapinfo, there is a MBX - Mapbasic program - that comes installed with it, we just need to enable it - as we shall soon see.

If you want to read a brief explanation about this tool, you can access the site itself Mapinfo:

But basically, the tool draws lines between objects - which can be a table or a union of two tables - that is the case as an example that will demonstrate today.

When these lines are drawn, a new table is created according to the corresponding values in same columns, that can be color coded and with a new column that shows the length of each line.

Enough of theory, and get to work!

After downloading the files in this article, let's open it on your computer. To open the Mapinfo Workspace, after detaching the files in some temporary folder, double click the file spider_graph.wor.

On the main screen, you will find a standard Mapinfo Workspace, already opened with three tables:

  • Sites: reference only, with some random sites.
  • Sectors: A table with information sectors, with a NAME field with the CellID information sector.
  • sample_data, which contains data from a dummy drive test. Today the most important thing here is not the drive test data info, as the signal level. Only one field is important, indeed essential - the NAME field, containing the CellID. It is this field that will allow the union of this table with a table of sectors - Sectors.

Regardless of what the indicator is analyzed at the spider graph allows us to draw the lines between the tables and data sectors.

To enable this tool, go to the Menu Tools (1) -> Tool Manager ... (2).


At Tool Manager, select the option to load (enable) this tool - Spider Graph (1). If you want this tool to be loaded automatically whenever the Mapinfo is open, also check the Autoload option (2).

Now you can open the interface of the tool that creates a Spider Graph, by accessing Menu: Tools (1) -> Spider Graph (2) -> Spider Graph (3).

In the new window, we must make some choices, but they are very intuitive.

First, choose the source and destination table (1) and (2). In this case, our table is the origin Sectors with sectors data.

Also, for each of these tables we should indicate the chosen field that is common to both, and that will be used for match (3) and (4). In our case, in both tables the fields were called NAME, and contains the CellID for the cells.

And we can select (5) which fields we want to include in the new table is created. (To select more than one field, use the Control key).


Note that you still have the option to set the unit of measure (Units:), and also highlight the options Color Code Results, coloring each line grouped by a common field of color, and Add Line Distance option to include the length line.

Creating Lines on the Create button from the main interface of the program Spider Graph, you will be prompted for a name for the new table, which can be anyone. Here saved as only to facilitate demonstration.


Okay, now it becomes much easier to understand how such a graph can help us, don't you agree?

The spider graph allows us to check at each point what is dominant cells, if a sector is serving a worng area - signal spurious, if there is cable swaps, etc ...


And we can show it a little better, right-clicking on the map, choosing Control Layer, and enabling some labels (1).



Finally, note that the spider graph was saved as a new table, and was automatically added to the workspace. So we can do all operations such as creating a thematic map on it, ie, changing colors, shapes, etc., among other attributes of the lines of Spider Graph based for example on the values of the indicator analysis or the distance (length) of each line .

And we can also create thematic maps for indicators in our analysis, of course.

But this is already a topic for another day. Let's stop here today, and give you time to practice Spider Graph for rapid analysis in its drive tests.


A small final remark

Here it is worth informing the next. Although the development of tutoring applications described in the BLOG are suspended, it those tutorials I've given several tips for using Mapinfo and Mapbasic. If you want to read a little more, register for free as a member of telecomHall, and visit the BLOG. If you are already a member, simply sign in and go to the BLOG.

Choose the tags that contain or Mapinfo and Mapbasic, or if you could read all articles. Incidentally, I recommend it, because even without the files available for download are developed, you will learn various concepts and tips.

Anyway, if you do not want to read there, do not worry: I will gradually teach here everything you need to know. Even if some information appear as repeated what was said in the BLOG. Then I count on your understanding, all right?

Link to Blog Posts with Mapinfo TAG


Dou you have an interesting tip, and want to share?

Did you like the tip, and has a similar one? Send me that I publish along with your name here!
Send to contact .



This was a brief introduction to MapInfo, with an example that can be very useful for a quick check new sites using drive tests- by using Spider Graph.
Even if you already knew this trick, continue participating. The idea here, as in all articles, is always to be quick and straightforward, with only what is worth - and must - be seen, always seeking out new tips that might bring better results.