OpenSignal (formerly OpenSignalMaps) launched two years ago with hopes of compiling a robust database of cell phone towers, cell phone signal strength and Wi-Fi access points around the world. Instead of throwing massive headcount at this worldwide mission or investing millions to buy cooperation from carriers, OpenSignal commenced one of the most successful crowdsourcing projects ever recorded. OpenSignal gathers all its data from mobile phone users around the world who have downloaded the OpenSignal app. OpenSignal constantly retrieves data from the app and updates its coverage maps.
With a mere two years under its belt, OpenSignal now provides coverage information spanning more than 1,000 networks in over 200 countries. The app that produced and continues to produce the data has been downloaded over 2 million times. With a couple of years’ rapid success, and a new round of funding, OpenSignal is expanding its functionality with an API. The first API gives developers access to the NetworkRank product. NetworkRank “recommend[s] the best network in any location.” OpenSignal intends to expand its API offering to include a cell tower API and Wi-Fi access point API.
The NetworkRank API responds in both JSON and XML data formats. API integration pulls a map based on location (e.g. zip code) and presents network coverage from 2G, 3G, and 4G networks into a square map (size can be set anywhere from 20k x 20k to 40k x 40k). Developers need a key for authentication and can apply for access at the developer’s site.
Wireless access, both cellular and Wi-Fi, are assumed by today’s average consumer and required by today’s average business. OpenSignal delivers greater insight into a geography’s wireless capabilities and could help companies plan for the future and make strategic decisions. With access to OpenSignal’s data, developers can incorporate critical wireless information into decision making tools.