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Introduction of company
Bharti Airtel is India's leading provider of telecommunications
services. The company has 27 million customers across India. It is
a part of Bharti Enterprises, which manufactures and exports
telecom equipment, provides telecom services in Seychelles,
delivers products and services to telecom carriers, offers a range of
Customer Management Services (CMS) and exports fresh
agricultural products exclusively to markets in Europe and the
USA.

Business
The business has been structured into three individual strategic
business units (SBUs) — mobile services, broadband and
telephone services (B&T) and enterprise services. The last group
has two sub-units — carriers (long distance services) and services
to corporates.

Brands
All the services of the company are bundled under the Airtel
brand.

Location
The company is headquartered in New Delhi. The mobile services
group provides GSM mobile services across India in 23 telecom
circles, while the B&T business group provides broadband &
telephone services in 90 cities.
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What is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS)
integrates hardware, software, and data for
capturing, managing, analyzing, and
displaying all forms of geographically
referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and
visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships,
patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports,
and charts.

A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by
looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and
easily shared.

GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise
information system framework.

Three Views of a GIS

A GIS is most often associated with a map. A map, however,
is only one way you can work with geographic data in a GIS,
and only one type of product generated by a GIS. A GIS can
provide a great deal more problem-solving capabilities than
using a simple mapping program or adding data to an online
mapping tool (creating a "mash-up").

A GIS can be viewed in three ways:
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The Database View: A GIS is a unique kind of database of
the world—a geographic database (geodatabase). It is an
"Information System for Geography." Fundamentally, a GIS
is based on a structured database that describes the world in
geographic terms.

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2. The Map View: A GIS is a set of intelligent maps and
other views that show features and feature
relationships on the earth's surface. Maps of the
underlying geographic information can be constructed
and used as "windows into the database" to support
queries, analysis, and editing of the information.

3. The Model View: A GIS is a set of information
transformation tools that derive new geographic
datasets from existing datasets. These geoprocessing
functions take information from existing datasets, apply
analytic functions, and write results into new derived
datasets.
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1.

By combining data and applying some analytic rules, you
can create a model that helps answer the question you have
posed. In the example below, GPS and GIS were used to
accurately model the expected location and distribution of
debris for the Space Shuttle Columbia, which broke up upon
re-entry over eastern Texas on February 1, 2003

By combining data and applying some analytic rules, you
can create a model that helps answer the question you have
posed. In the example below, GPS and GIS were used to
accurately model the expected location and distribution of
debris for the Space Shuttle Columbia, which broke up upon
re-entry over eastern Texas on February 1, 2003.

Customised GIS-based Telecom Resource
Planning Tool:
Salient Features:
• Operations Support System for Network Maintenance and
Planning.
• Business Support System to support and strengthen
marketing initiatives.
• Top management tool to integrate core organisational
functions such as service coverage planning, marketing,
finance and others. The planning tool is capable of providing
assistance in identifying the best options for actions and
investments in the target rural/ urban/municipal area;
defining the priority in each of the selected
rural/urban/municipal area and promoting optimal planning
(engineering, marketing and sales), thereby facilitating
qualitative improvement of results in each area.
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GIS in Telegraphy
Telegraphic GIS
GIS in Telecommunication

Geographical information system in telecom industry plays an
important role. GIS can be a great planning and decision-making
tool for telecom industries. GIS technology allows telecom to
enhance a variety of application ranging from engineering
application, customer relationship management, workforce
management and location based services. GIS helps telecom to
create competitive advantage by optimizing installation,
maintenance and tracking of network assets.

Telecom companies typically operate in maze of location-specific
data. To manage and solve their operating issues smoothly, telecom
companies require information on current and future needs of their
customers, customer locations and assets deployed at various
locations. GIS helps to analyze location-specific information for
network infrastructure management, wireless coverage and assets
management.

Telecommunication networks are characterized by vast
geographical expanse and large number of features. Continuously
evolving telecom technology and tremendous competition has
necessitated very tight financial and inventory controls,
maximization of utilization of installed physical inventory and high
quality of uninterrupted service to the customers. Telecom
companies succeeding in meeting these challenges continue to
grow, thereby further increasing these challenges. GIS based
Telecom applications are ideally suited to meet all of these
requirements
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Areas of Application
CyberSWIFT expertise in the telecom sector is in
providing GIS-based application in:
• Planning, modeling and designing the infrastructure
• Facility Planning
• Inventory management and equipment placement
• Providing network data
• Fault location and service maintenance
• Marketing, sales and service fulfillment

Role of GIS in telecom sector
The support of critical applications is a fundamental requirement of
Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Instead of broad focus on
the entire suite of applications commonly addressed by GIS systems,
this paper highlights the role of GIS technology in Telecom Sector.

A case study of the implementation & application of a GIS system at
MTNL, Delhi have been discussed, Some of the problems & Lacuna
in the present manual system of operation & management will be
described, further the use of GIS as a efficient and powerful decision-
making tool on solving them is also explained. Some of the major
modules developed to suit the Indian Telecom Network requirement
such as Wait List Analysis area Transfer etc will be focused.

The paper also brings out how Basic Telecom Service companies can
utilise GIS technology in Network Planning and in Market & Customer
analysis.
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Finally the paper emphasises that GIS systems within Telecom
utilities can provide facilities for fault tracking, customer care,
Planning and efficient management of a large distributive network
and more importantly provide a framework for better integration and
analysis of relevant facility information derived from several sources
in graphics environment.

History of Telecommunications

The history of telecommunications is a story of networks.
Alexander Graham Bell on his honeymoon wrote of a "grand
system" that would provide "direct communication between any
two places in [a] city" and, by connecting cities, provide a true
network throughout the country and eventually the world
(Winston, Media Technology, p. 244). From the telegraph to the
telephone to e-mail, electronic communication has extended farther
and reached more people with increasing speed. The advent of the
Internet in combination with a satellite system that covers the
entire surface of the earth has brought us closer to the "global
village" envisioned by Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s.

The variety of media included under the umbrella of
"telecommunications" has expanded since the early twentieth
century. The term was adopted in 1932 by the Convention
Internationale des Telecommunications held in Madrid (OED). At
this point, the telegraph, the telephone, and the radio were the only
widely used telecommunications media. The United States, the
point of origin for only one of these three (Bell's telephone), soon
came to dominate the telecommunications industries. The Radio
Corporation of America (RCA) was created in 1919, three years
before Britain's British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). By 1950,
the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T)
provided the best telephone service in the world. American
television led the way after World War II (1939–1945). Then, in
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the early 1980s, a new device was introduced: the personal
computer.

Select Projects & Clients:
Telecom Resource Planning Tool at Airtel Ecosmart has
developed and implemented a Telecom Resource Planning
Tool for Airtel (Bharti Televentures Ltd), India. This system
facilitates resource and market planning, identifies potential
subscriber base and supports high level decision-making.
The customized tool was developed using GIS SDK on a
VB/C++ platform. Ecosmart has also provided customised
digital data and planning solutions for Nokia, Siemens,
Lucent Technologies, Idea, LGL, Nortel and Sona Netcoms.

Data Coverage and Inventory

Airtel has built up an extensive inventory of geo-data
covering:
• Complete State and Regional coverage of India.
• More than 1000 Indian cities and major cities of other
countries.
• Comprehensive database for South East Asia, Middle
East, the Caribbean countries and the Asia-Pacific
Region.
• Complete satellite coverage of India and partial global
coverage.
• Topographical maps for India and locations across the
globe.

Technology Advantage

Airtel has leveraged its technology partnerships with ESRI &
Map Info to build state-of-the-art GIS, GPS and RS expertise
for multiple business processes & client-specific
requirements, including:
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• Remote Sensing Software – Airtel Imagine, Ortho-base pro,
LPS.
• GIS Software – ESRI ARC GIS Family with Extensions
(Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, Geo-Statistical Analyst and
Network Analysis. AutoDesk Map, MapInfo Professional,
Vertical Mapper, MapX, MapXtreem.
• Programming Language – Map Basic, Visual Basic,
AML/SML, XML, Java, Map Objects,
c++ and Avenue.
• Databases – SQL Server, MS Access, Oracle 9i, DSVRS.

GIS FOR TELECOM (LOGICAL WORKFLOW)

SALES&
MAKETING

NETWORK
PLANNING
NETWORK
ENGINEERING

PROVISIONING
• PLANT
PROTECTION
• COMPLIANCE
• OUTAGE
• TAXES
NETWORK
OPERATION
CUNSUMER
RELATIONSHIP
MANAGEMENT
WORKTANCE
MANAGEMENT
CUNSUMER
SERVICES
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GIS FOR TELECOM (DATA FLOW)

SALES &
MARKETING
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NETWORK
PLANNING

NETWORK
LANDBASE ENGINEERING

PROVISIONING

FACILITIES
NETWORK
OPERATION
NETWORK

REGULATORY CUNSUMER
RELATIONSHIP
MANAGEMENT

WORKTANCE
MANAGEMENT

CUNSUMER
SERVICES

Business Requirement Assessment

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At the outset of the vast telecomm infrastructure project, Reliance
management recognised the importance of providing high quality of
uninterrupted service to the customers. Continuously evolving
technology and tremendous competition has necessitated
maximisation of utilization of telecom inventory and tight inventory
controls.

GIS platform with a dedicated telecommunication application is the
optimum solution since it can store the network inventory in a
geographical manner. Interfacing with network, O & M and customer
facing systems enables to meet the business requirements
successfully. Some of the main requirements expected to be met by
the GIS / Telecom application are:

• Plan, design and engineer Network and expansion
• Modeling of (OutSide Plant) OSP and (InSide Plant) ISP items
up to port level
• Placement of Trenches, Cables, Structures and facilities in the
OSP
• Facility layouts, equipment placement and port-to-port
connectivity
• Inventory management including equipment assignment
• Repository of As Built and survey data
• Provide network data to OSS / BSS systems
• Answer service activation / provisioning queries
• Cable fault localisation
• Several Sales, Marketing and Service fulfillment related
functions

Selection of GIS Platform & Telecom Application
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Technical evaluation of all existing out-of-box packages was done
with one week hands-on experience wherein ease of learning and
operation, efficiency of CAD functionalities etc. were tested by
operators.

Detailed technical discussions involving client functional
capabilities, RDBMS, version management of the GIS platform
were carried out.

Ease of data conversion, telecom feature modeling and other
functions were evaluated. Efforts in customisation, after sales
support etc. were also considered.

GIS Use in Telecommunications

To be competitive, telecommunications providers depend on a
smoothly functioning work flow process that integrates
information for marketing, demand forecasting, engineering,
customer management, operations support, and fleet management.
Although telecommunications providers generally have the same
needs for information, how the work flow is organized can vary
significantly from company to company.

Historically telecommunications companies have used an
assortment of information systems-some developed in-house, some
purchased-that were never designed to work together. When these
systems were implemented, there was no perceived requirement
for information sharing. Today telecommunications companies
operate networks that have equipment from multiple vendors and
lease bandwidth and antenna sites from other companies. Mergers
with, or acquisition of, other companies require the incorporation
of, or at least interaction with, completely foreign networks.
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Telecommunications companies are integrating GIS into the overall work
flow.

The need for information sharing within companies and
interoperability between systems has been recognized by the
telecommunications industry for a long time. Originally founded in
1865 as International Telegraph Union, the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) promotes standards in
equipment that guarantee generalized interconnection between
communication systems. To improve interoperability, ITU has
developed the Telecommunications Management Network (TMN),
a method of standardizing business organization. This hierarchy of
support systems specifies interoperability through the use of
industry-standard protocols. Geospatial applications need to
support this same level of interoperability if GIS is to work well
within this TMN-structured environment.

Many current applications of GIS in the telecommunications
industry began as departmental tools that worked within a well-
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defined scope. These GIS-based tools have helped automate
business processes and increase the efficiency of operations. The
following sections describe how telecommunications companies
have integrated GIS into the overall work flow.

Business driver
GIS based telecom application requires large investment, manpower
and time in data creation and deployment. Full benefits of such
systems can only be realised when the Telecom GIS system
becomes an integral part of the OSS / BSS solution and the
organisational work processes are designed with GIS as an essential
part of such integrated OSS / BSS solution. Based on automatic flow-
through business processes, such integration provides maximum
value addition in terms of

• Single point data entry and elimination of redundant databases,
• Minimal human intervention in data creation,
• Improved response to network events,
• Improved response to customers,

resulting in improved overall efficiency of the enterprise.

Integration with OSS
Telco application on GIS platform is the data master for all network
inventory and network infrastructure data as well as network related
reference data.

• Network inventory data includes equipment, cards and physical
ports.
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• Physical configuration data includes physical circuits and cross
connections.
• Infrastructure includes facilities & other OSP data like trenches
and cables.

The logical configuration is created in OSS based on information from
Telco GIS and customer data entered in CRM.

The data volume of physical network inventory, connections and
facilities runs in to a few million records for a large network. Single
point data creation with automatic uploading in OSS ensuring
synchronising of the two databases saves several thousand man-
hours.

As a result of this, permanent link is automatically established
between OSS and GIS through primary keys, allowing on-the-fly
spatial queries to be handled between the two systems. Questions by
OSS and field staff requiring information of nearest active electronics
facility or nearest manhole based on visual or textual address input
are answered in seconds.

Detailed requirement assessment and data mapping is performed
jointly by OSS and Telco application team. At this stage, following
details are frozen

• All network element and facility naming conventions
• Modeling details for both physical and logical configurations
• Overall integration scheme and middleware
• API signatures on either side
• Error handling and database synchronisation issues
• Test plans & test cases with expected results

We have successfully implemented an application for uploading the
network inventory and physical links data to OSS. Enclosed Figure 1
indicates Flowchart of Data Upload to OSS. Following are the
important steps involved:

• Inventory changed since last upload is transferred to interface
tables using a difference cursor with 'ADD', 'DELETE' or
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'MODIFY' flags. Middleware adapters are triggered to start
transfer to OSS.
• Inventory data is validated against of reference data in OSS. A
'SUCCESS' or an error code is returned to interface table.
• The 'SUCCESS' is also posted to the versioned tables to avoid
retransfer of the data during the next dump.

Due to the difference in representation of links in OSS compared to
GIS / Telco application, transfer of links is more complicated. The
Links are populated in the interface tables as follows:

• Every connected port is scanned and a network trace made.
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• Each complete trace is given a 'Set ID' and each piece of cable
within a set is given a 'Sequence Number'.
• A table is populated where every 'Set ID' is mapped to the
OTDR port, which monitors that link.
• From the first table, OSS picks up 'FROM' port from the first
record and 'TO' port from the last record of the set.
• From the second table, OSS picks up information of which Link
is monitored by which OTDR port.

The task of error checking, corrections and transferring the data
again to OSS is manual and tedious. GIS / Telco application operator
may need to check 3,000 records after each dump. This task is
facilitated by specially developed GUI, which displays the error
message for each inventory item, allows user to zoom to the feature
as well as select and start editing the same version, which created
the inventory.

OSS integration for Fault localisation is one of the most important and
highly integrated applications that has been developed. The link to
OTDR port mapping table loaded from GIS database forms a key to
this automatic flow through process. Refer enclosed Figure 2
indicating the Flowchart of Automatic Fault Localisation. Following are
the important steps involved:

• OSS commands the OTDR to provide optical distance to fault.
The OTDR returns the optical distance of fault via OTDR server
to OSS.
• OSS passes the same along with OTDR port and a Fault ID to
Telco application on GIS platform for locating the fault on map.
• GIS / Telco application places the fault marker, calculates all the
necessary attributes and publishes the fault location to Intranet.
Simultaneously, the information is returned to OSS for further
use like trouble ticketing, history etc.
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Analysis

1) GIS model used in the company is useful in Planning
Modelling and Designing the infrastructure of the company.

2) It facilitates Planning in every phase.

3) It helps in Inventory management and Equipment placement
of the company

4) It gives network for data or information flow.

.
5) It identifies the fault locations and helps in Service
maintenance.

6) It is required for the telecom companies like AIRTEL for
Marketing and for fulfillment Sales and Services. Similarly
the other functional areas relating to these fields too.

Conclusion
A well designed and implemented Telecom Application based on GIS
platform is a powerful tool available to the telecom enterprises. The
application not only maintains a geo-physical inventory of ISP
network elements and OSP objects but is also be used for vital
activities like network planning, engineering and O & M. High value
addition is observed by closely integrating the GIS / Telco application
with OSS and