Use GIS to Analyze and Reduce the Community’s Cell Phone Dead Spots


Most cell phone users have experienced the frustration of being in a
“dead spot,” or a location where their phones are unable to connect to a
network and provide communication with the rest of the world. Because
this disconnect is closely tied to geography, the negative feelings
generated from a lack of connectivity are transferred to the person’s
physical location. Whether a fair association or not, the presence of
dead spots can cause people to perceive a community as a less desirable
place to visit or live in.

In response to the demand for greater connectivity, the Village of
Lincolnshire is documenting its existing infrastructure as well as
identifying options for expanding its coverage. GIS tracks this
information and assists in the decision-making process for any
additions. In the map above, existing towers are shown with a red dot,
and a 50-foot “do not built” buffer is added on to show the least
logical locations for new towers. The blue and purple areas are
locations on private and public land (respectively) that have been
identified by the Village planners as possible spots for new towers. The
fading buffer zones ranging from 100 to 500 feet are used to give the
Village more flexibility in selecting the exact location of any

As an added benefit to using GIS for this project, the Village can
repurpose this data easily to analyze its existing and potential revenue
generation. Private providers have to pay rental fees and local taxes
to install and maintain each tower, so it is important that the Village
confirms that it is receiving the appropriate amount of income from
existing and new enhancements.