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Leveraging Katapult Pro for OSP Design Projects

Updated: Feb 21

The more I learn about OSP engineering, the more I realize that fiber optic design, in general, is an absolute beast. When you live and breathe the pole attachments process, it’s easy to compartmentalize to the point where you forget the steps that come before and after it.


Since I started working at Katapult in 2017, the majority of our work has been focused on the power side of pole attachments as a vendor for the power company. By the time a communications company submits an attachment application through the portal, much of the OSP design process has already been completed. Even after an attachment application is approved, there are additional steps during and following construction that communications providers take to serve their customers.


In some ways, Katapult Pro is a very different type of OSP design software. While GIS tools like ArcGIS focus on large maps and spatial queries, and fiber tools like VETRO focus on fiber management, Katapult Pro is focused on the pole attachments process.


The pole attachments process is typically focused on ensuring that all fiber attachments are built safely and in accordance with distribution standards. The Katapult Pro process can assist during the route determination steps, as well as with walkout and attachment application submissions.


Route Determination

Using Katapult Pro design tools, users can design multiple potential routes* for their fiber path. In some situations, designers can use aerial imagery and street view to avoid particularly congested poles or complicated permit situations like railroad crossings. Once design is complete, field crews can use Katapult Pro equipment and workflows to capture pole data for each route. Designers can use the field data to measure all (or selected poles) to assess approximate make ready costs. Teams can then use make ready heat maps to choose an optimal route.

Satellite map of osp predesign.

*A side note - there are a few things to consider when determining the best route. The two big ones are time and money. Or are those the same thing? There are situations in which more expensive make ready can still lead to your fiber being built faster. And then there’s the question of how to optimize pole attachment applications around required permits to get the most important segments built first…


Walkout

Katapult Pro is a flexible, real-time mapping tool that can be used on both desktop and mobile. Many of our customers transitioned to our software from hand-drawn maps for RDOF projects. Katapult Pro is a great tool for this type of large-scale deployment in un- or under-served places for several reasons.

  • The first design pass can be done from a desktop anywhere using aerial imagery

  • Job packages can be shared with subcontractors at the click of a button

  • A single field technician can rapidly verify and update the design from a vehicle or on foot, depending on the scope of data needed

  • New design can be created from a desktop or mobile device in the field

  • Reporting can be done across multiple jobs or regions


One important note: Katapult Pro is still, at the time I’m writing this, fundamentally a solution for getting permission to attach to poles. There might be other great mapping and design solutions for walkout, and as long as you can export locations via CSV or KMZ, your team or vendors can import that data to Katapult Pro for measurements, permits, and make ready engineering.


Pole Attachment Application Submissions

At the end of the day, Katapult Pro is a tool to manage pole attachment* requests. This process varies by pole owner, requiring as little as the pole locations you plan to attach to or as much as full make ready and pole loading analysis. Our models, tools, and deliverables are configurable based on your project and market so that you can deliver a wide range of services while using the same or similar field/office workflows.

OSP design used in pole attachment application, showing pole with heights calibrated and designed satellite photo.

In addition to our standard map, photo, and spreadsheet deliverables, we also include custom coding packages as a part of our onboarding process so that teams can automate the creation of customer-specific outputs, such as profile sheets, make ready notifications, maps, and more!

Pole sheet export

*Katapult Pro has some great tools for underground design, but it’s not something I understand well enough to write about it. Shoot us an email if your project requires a lot of underground OSP design, and we’ll get you in touch with a team (or several) who utilize underground for broadband deployment on a more regular basis.


Thanks for reading! If you’re looking to grow your OSP design and permitting teams, we’re here to help. Contact us at sales@katapultengineering.com to get started!

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