What the World Would Look Like if Cell Phone Signals Were Visible

Visualizing Mobile Phone Signals Over Cities

Visual artist Nikolay Lamm is back with a new set which makes us look at the invisible. Quite like his previous set of visualized WiFi signals, this one takes a look at what the world would appear if our cell phone signals were readily visible. The visualizations look at different cities, like Chicago, NYC, Washington DC, and Hollywood. For those looking beyond the myriad of colors, this is also a very interesting way to see how mobile phone networks work.

As the original article explains:

A regular, hexagonal grid of cellular base-station sites is conceptualized for Chicago, with stations at the corners of the hexagons. The area within each sector antenna radiation pattern has different users being assigned different frequencies and their signals combine to form a single perceived color in that instant. Different channel combinations from sector to sector are indicated by different colors. The channel combinations shown are not static, but rather change rapidly in time as different users are assigned different channels. But, if you were to take a photo of these rapid changes, you’d likely see a wide array of colors as seen in the illustration. Near the downtown area more users are likely to be found and the hexagonal cells are smaller to serve approximately the same numbers of users found in larger cells elsewhere. Antenna signals extending beyond the original cells provide coverage over part of Lake Michigan.

To attain a proper understanding and visualization, Nikolay Lamm received help from several professors and academics.

New York City
Pictorial representation of the coverage provided by a base station located at the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington D.C.
Hollywood Hills with a single long distance tower
Sector radiation patterns from two hypothetical base-station sites on the Capitol.

Via Nikolay Lamm on MyVoucherCodes, Gizmodo

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.