SigMap FAQ's

Here is where you can find answers to most commonly asked questions.

General

If you have poor service from your carrier, you could use the App to:

Identify the best carrier for your area.
Demonstrate to your existing carrier what the coverage is in your area.
Request a copy of data for your area through the sign-up page, for negotiation with your carrier about service.
If you live in a fringe area of coverage and you are likely to need to make a call, or you have no connection, the map may assist to guide you to the nearest area that has coverage for your carrier.

Mobile communications is a crucial part of modern living. We are giving SigMap away for free to encourage as much community participation as possible and allow SigMap to quantify the signal strength in the areas where the App is active. The greater the number of users, the greater the accuracy of the information. SigMap is free for personal use however institutions pay for data and analysis that comes from SigMap.

Absolutely not ... We do not collect any personal data. Any contributed data is anonymous with no identifying data. Only the App Stores will want to know who you are, we don't.

Depending on your platform version, various permissions are requested. Some permission requests may seem obscure; such as Photos and Calendar, but we assure you we do not use any use any information or data.

Generally the following permissions are needed:

Location – This is the longitude and latitude of the device when it collects the signal data. SigMap requires access to these Location services.
Storage – On some operating systems we store location and signal information until we have enough to send to the server. Sometimes, if you are not in an internet area, we also store this information until you are connected to Wi-Fi or Internet.

If you have an account for raw data or for the SigMap Atlas, click on your ‘submit a ticket’ button in your portal. For all other support issues please send an email to support@sigmap.com.au

Yes, go to www.sigmap.com.au/coverage-map You can also sign up for access to SigMap data at the same site.

Data is refreshed every 24 hrs.

SigMap can only collect data to display if a device (with SigMap installed) has been to that location and is actively transmitting the information back to our server. If there is no data in an area, it simply means one of our many users has not been there yet. The more active users we have, the sooner we can fill in these gaps in remote areas.

Yes… enquire about the Atlas interface for all your GIS (geographic information system) needs.

No, SigMap is not a way to get you to click on links, it's simply a useful tool that is also contributing to the community at large.

Settings

SigMap collects signal information in a specific manner based on certain criteria. We call this, Default Mode. Survey Mode allows for custom collection to occur and overrides the existing criteria.

There are two options to access Survey Mode:

From the Map screen, click on the Options button (located at the bottom right) and then click on Survey Mode.
Click on the Settings (located at the top right) and then click on Collection and select Survey Mode.

In settings in the Map section switch on the “Show my Carrier”. This will only display signals collected for your carrier rather than the consolidated results of all carriers.

HINT: you can also look at the various carriers from the map by choosing the carrier from the drop-down menu in the search bar. Click on the three horizontal bars.

Simply press the refresh button on the bottom left of the map screen, this will start a manual collection of data.

In the Settings menu click on the upload button (a U with an arrow pointing up).

On the Settings menu click on the reset symbol on the top right-hand side.

SigMap has an internal buffer and this buffer is written to a file stored locally on the phone. The area in the phone where it is stored is called Local Storage. The internal buffer is stored locally to ensure that the collected data is not lost. The buffer is also used when our servers are not reachable. Once the data has been uploaded to the server, the buffer is cleared.

The default number of samples internally buffered is 25. If the app has collected less than the number of samples shown in Local Storage and is switched off, then these samples will not be sent to the server until the app is switched back on and the number of samples reaches that shown in local storage.

Android
When installing the app, there is a standard message from the Android system that states:

“Allow SigMap to access photos, media and files on your device?”

We have no control over this message! What is happening is that SigMap needs to access an area of the phone called a buffer in the storage area of the phone so as to store signal data. The buffer is also part of the storage area for photos, media and files. SigMap does not use or read photos, media or other files, only the information SigMap places into the buffer. So to make SigMap work we need permission to access this area.

iOS
SigMap on iOS may request access to the calendar. Similar to Android, the calendar is not used by SigMap. However, SigMap does require access to local store where the calendar is held to temporarily store the buffer.

Maps

SigMap retrieves the map from our servers. Therefore to display the map, SigMap requires Internet access. In areas where the coverage is poor and there is not Internet, it is possible that the map will fail to display.

No. We do not keep any personal information or identifiers. Therefore there is no mechanism to identify users of their current location.

No. The map's purpose is to display the signal strength in the area and not tracking users.

SigMap does not have a real-time tracking feature. The map is not updated in real-time and is updated only at certain events. For example when SigMap is in the background no map updates occur. This approach conserves battery.

The map is updated on the following events:

When the App becomes the foreground App.
Click on the Refresh button.
When a point is collected.

Our lists for carriers and network connection types are based on the data we have collected so far. If you do not see your carrier in the filters for the coverage maps, it is because we do not have data for that carrier in your area.

If a new carrier becomes operational we will identify it's unique code and then add them to our list. Please be aware that your data might not appear immediately. If you think your data is not appearing after 1 week, then please contact us through our “contact” page on the SigMap website.

3G

Good Signal between 0 and -105dBm (Green).
Poor Signal between 106 and -120 dBm (Yellow).
No Signal higher than -121 dBm (Red).
4G

Good Signal between 0 and -85dBm (Green).
Poor Signal between 186 and -110 dBm (Yellow).
No Signal higher than -111 dBm (Red).

Yes, you can still use the map while in Pause Mode which includes zooming and panning.

Data & Collection

Default Mode is the general mode that we recommend for collecting data. It has been optimised to use the least amount of battery with the most amount of data collection possible. While in Default Mode, changing collection parameters is not allowed. Users can still Pause and Resume collection while in this mode.

Survey Mode is for more advanced users and is basically for customisation of collection parameters. Due to the different possible combinations in Survey Mode, it is possible that a higher demand for GPS services is required and therefore the battery drain will be higher.

The accuracy of the data is determined by the signal received through your phone handset and the built in GPS unit of the phone.

Data collected on our servers go through quality tests to ensure that the data received is valid before being applied to the general collection. The general collection is what is used to display on the Map. We then average the data to give a fair assessment of the signal in the area. 

Please contact us to discuss your needs.

The App uses an internet connection to send the collected data to our servers. Data transfer does not use a large amount of data. On a device’s default settings, around 2.5MB of data will be sent by your device to SigMap each month.

You can change the type of connection (Wi-Fi or cellular network) for sending data to our servers in the App settings.

There are three options:

Wi-Fi Only - the App will try repeatedly to upload data via Wi-Fi.
Cellular only - the App will only send data to our servers when connected to a cellular network 3G/4G.
Cellular or Wi-Fi - the App will first try sending on Wi-Fi if available, if not it will use the cellular network when available.

Battery drain on mobile devices is always a challenge because of the various use of the device. However, we have worked hard to minimise battery use and have ensured that SigMap is a properly behaved mobile app. However, like all mobile apps that use GPS and SigMap is no exception will consume battery.

Our extensive testing has indicated that running in Default Mode, when SigMap is compared to other similar apps does not drain battery excessively. If however, you have chosen Survey Mode, battery consumption cannot be anticipated and therefore battery drain is larger. In this mode, we advise that the phone be constantly plugged to a power source.

SigMap does come with three restrictions in order to conserve battery.

These restrictions turn on/off the GPS for SigMap:

Maximum Daily Count - You can set the maximum number of data points collected for the day. The counter resets at midnight. To disable this feature, enter a value of zero (0).
Ignore on Wi-Fi - When a Wi-Fi connection is detected, collection is ignored. Collection resumes when Wi-Fi is out of range.
Operation Hours - This feature allows you to define the hours SigMap is allowed to collect data.
You can override the restriction by either clicking on Resume or Refresh from the map screen. SigMap will prompt you accordingly that a restriction is in place and that you are overriding this restriction. If you decide to override the restriction, it is up to you to turn them back on.

The Quality of service you receive is dependent on many factors including:

dBm as the strength of the signal.
Type of signal 4G, 3G or H+.
Contention, or the number of connections on the same mobile tower.
Your phone type.
Your aerial type.
Your software version.
Your phone provider.
All these factors can affect your ability to make calls, download and upload data and maintain a connection, as well as the quality of the connection.

Accessing 3G or 4G also determines performance. We have set the following parameters:

3G

Good Signal between 0 and -105dBm.
Poor Signal between 106 and -120 dBm.
No Signal higher than -121 dBm.
4G

Good Signal between 0 and -85dBm
Poor Signal between 186 and -110 dBm
No Signal higher than -111 dBm
With a poor signal, on some phones indicated by one bar on the phone meter, you may be connected to your network but there may not be enough strength to place the call or send an SMS, often voice is the first to go!

You should also note that phone signal strength meters are not the most reliable in indicating true signal strength.

SigMap Poor Signal (yellow) means:

not a strong signal and maybe unreliable
telephone conversations may be difficult
may be suitable for light email, browsing and SMS
loading web pages may be very slow and unreliable
you may experience difficulties in connecting to the network.
Your phone will use a lot more power when the signal is low, this is because the phones amplifier is operating at full power to try and get a signal. As a result, the battery will drain quicker.

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