- Adam Schmehl
Using Katapult Pro For Small Cell Projects
Updated: Apr 4
In 2018, I wrote an article about the basics of fifth-generation wireless and what it means for our cities and our overall connectivity. Because our work in the telecommunications industry is so entrenched in the third-party pole attachments process, make ready engineering, and pole loading analysis, writing about 5G was more of an academic exercise to discover more about the rest of the industry. As it turns out, fiber has to get to these antennas somehow, so our software was already being used to survey, engineer, and apply for attachments on thousands of poles—many of which will become small cell locations as next-generation wireless takes over more cities in the US. This year, we were incredibly blessed to have new clients that were excited to tackle some new pieces of the small cell stack, specifically site acquisition, using Katapult Pro. These teams brought a level of knowledge and expertise regarding small cell deployment that has become very valuable in developing workflows and features for our software to help both them and the industry as a whole. Here are a few ways we've found that the Katapult Pro platform is well aligned to serve small cell site acquisition:
Because Katapult Pro uses true GIS locations to organize information, it is a great solution to map out a multitude of potential locations for the placement of new antennas. In addition to mapping these locations on top of satellite or roadmap imagery, you can also add notes and fill out attributes about each location using the edit item tool in Mobile. Context polygons and layers can be added easily to the map so field crews can identify and collect data about potential locations from a provided search area. Most of our clients typically map out a collection route before deploying to the field, but small cell projects allow field crews to navigate to the center of a search area and design potential antenna locations once they arrive on site.
At its core, Katapult Pro is a photo organization tool that allows users to store data on measurable photos. These photos are associated with true geolocations, so clients and back-office staff can quickly view the location and all field photos of each candidate before making any decisions.
Pole Attachment Applications
In addition to a streamlined field workflow and improved photo organization, Katapult Pro also offers full-stack processing for third-party attachment applications, which is necessary for any small cell placement that occurs on utility poles. While many potential locations will be processed using other methods, the candidates that will be processed for pole attachments can be handled directly through the platform. For teams that need to complete make ready engineering and loading analysis, Katapult Pro allows users to model both existing and proposed conditions in a simple, intuitive way. For small cell locations that will require pole replacements, the platform allows seamless exports to loading analysis in both SPIDAcalc and O-Calc Pro.
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