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The Route Determination Scalability Problem

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Traditionally, route determination is performed by a highly-skilled OSP designer with a comprehensive understanding of the industry. From just a glance, these designers are making hundreds of decisions to optimize a route to get their client's plant from point A to point B with minimal cost. To make these decisions, designers need a working knowledge of their client's plant, the locations that need to be served, all relevant NESC clearance requirements, and the distribution standards of the pole owner. And the approximate costs to go underground. And be able to do it just by looking at the poles as they drive their route. These skills come from surveying thousands of poles and designing hundreds of jobs in a multitude of different markets. It takes years to become comfortable making crucial decisions with all these different factors at play. Unfortunately, most broadband deployment projects don't have years of runway—so you'd better have several expert designers already on staff if you want to bid on upcoming projects. Because it takes so long to gain route determination expertise, it can be a ridiculous challenge to scale up and down with the peaks and valleys of the industry. At Katapult Engineering, our solution was to find a way to keep our expertise in the office. By leveraging measurable photos associated to true geolocations, Katapult Pro allows less experienced staff to make similarly impressive decisions about potential routes without the same amount of experience or being physically present at the job site. This means that one or two project managers with expertise can float between a team of junior designers working in multiple markets simultaneously—without sacrificing windshield time or travel expenses. The expertise required for field collection is minimal—even for more in-depth scopes—as fielding relies mostly on good safety practices and photo documentation. This allows teams to hire for character and culture fit, and immediately pull value from inexperienced employees to justify company growth. As new staff get more comfortable in the field, it's an easy transition to the data processing side, where they can leverage the experience of the expert designer in the office.

Thanks for reading! Questions or comments about route determination in Katapult Pro, call us or shoot us a message at!

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