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I want to survey an area to see the mobile network quality. I'll be doing this with a drone, and I was thinking of attaching an Android (iPhone is fine too I suppose if I must, but I'd rather use a cheaper Android device than an expensive iPhone for this, in case it falls) phone to it that will collect data as the drone flies around.

As long as this app logs when it finds signal, what kind (LTE, 3G, etc), how strong, and hopefully how fast, then I can later compare this to the drone's video to get an estimate of the signal at certain locations and heights.

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The OpenSignal App is available for both Android and iOS and also has developer/test forum at http://opnsg.nl/beta-community that may well be interested in what you are doing and assisting with triggering readings.

Features (from the website):

Features:

  • ✓ Cell tower direction - follow our signal compass to stronger signal
  • ✓ Download, upload and latency tests - for 2G, 3G, LTE and wifi
  • ✓ Database of your speed test results so you can view test history - stored in app, so see results offline
  • ✓ Compare coverage and connection quality on a google map
  • ✓ History of your mobile connection - see stats on your connection to 4G and 3G and your data usage
  • ✓ Find fast wifi with our interactive wifi map
  • ✓ Free and no ads

Easy, Fast Speedtest

  • • Test download speed, upload speed and ping performance for wifi & mobile
  • • Units in mbps and ms
  • • History of results saved to a database - speed test history on a map
  • • Speedometer style interface
  • • Save to sd card as a CSV • Works for mobile and cable broadband (ADSL)

Signal dashboard

  • • Shows direction of your connected cell tower - walking towards it, or out of the way of obstructions, can improve cellular connection
  • • Ping test for quick speed check
  • • Signal strength in dB
  • • (Settings) Get signal alert when you have no data or can't make phone calls

Cell and Wifi Maps

  • Where we have data, see the cell towers on your network - including, 3, EE, O2, Vodafone + more
  • Wifi hotspots map and list - find free wifi nearby
  • Unique network tools: signal compass, signal strength in dBm
  • Uses Google Maps
  • By using the app you help crowdsource data - automatically adding networks and wifis

View history and stats

  • View data usage on wifi and mobile
  • How long have you had access to 4G (LTE), 3G or 2G, or spent in signal notspots? See your stats for network availability
  • Save to SD Card as a CSV - see your history of LTE, 3G measurements and more

Important Notes

The following points from the FAQ are probably significant for what you want to do

Run manual speed tests. The more you do the more you’ll be contributing, but do note that the app will be using more data.

Set the app to a high frequency data collection.

To do so on an Android phone, go to menu < Settings < Data Collection < Frequency and select “High”. Note that even with the high frequency collection setting on, the app will only collect data when the phone’s screen is on. But on some Android phones, there is a wake-lock on the screen which will prevent your screen from turning off, even if the app is closed. A more certain method is to enable Developer Options on your phone and select the ‘Stay Awake’ setting, which will ensure your screen stays on when the phone is charging. You could also use a power management application to keep the screen on. On iPhone devices, you have the choice to allow data collection in the background (when the app is closed or the screen is off).

If you have the app in the High frequency mode for data collection and are worried about it using up a lot of your data allowance, bare in mind that you can control the upload settings as well. The app gives you the option to only allow uploads over WiFi, preserving your data allowance.

It is really important to have location settings turned on – we cannot use your data otherwise.

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