Geographic Information
Systems (GIS)

Use Case Details

MOBIA’s GIS Solution Ushers in a New Era of Fibre Network Design for Telecoms


What is GIS?

GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, combine software, data, and powerful analysis tools to map, evaluate, and manipulate geospatial information. A powerful tool for understanding spatial patterns and relationships, GIS is used in engineering, real estate, transportation, logistics, public safety, utilities, telecommunications, and many other industries.
In fact, with applications for GIS in virtually every field, scalable enterprise solutions
are empowering organizations with the location intelligence they require to streamline operations and make sound and meaningful decisions.

When asked to describe geographic information systems in the simplest terms,
Justin Chang, GIS Analyst at MOBIA put it this way:
GIS can either be a standalone software or a scalable enterprise system with multiple users used to manage, view, and edit data that has location value or a spatial component.
Justin Chang,
 GIS Analyst at MOBIA

GIS Expertise at MOBIA

As a leading systems integrator with a dedicated GIS team, MOBIA has supported clients with geographic information systems implementations for over a decade. Primarily serving the telecommunications industry, MOBIA’s GIS professionals conduct spatial data analyses for clients.
In some cases, they also design, implement, and maintain the enterprise geographic information systems these organizations need to visualize, analyze, and make decisions about their growing networks.

A Unique GIS Challenge

As a trusted GIS partner, MOBIA supports many of its clients in getting the most value from proprietary GIS solutions licensed from partners like Esri, Ericsson, and Schneider Electric. Robust and scalable, these systems offer central, cloud-based databases with multi-user access and permissions. This allows many designers and analysts, including resources at MOBIA, to collaborate on GIS-supported initiatives by accessing geospatial data and analysis tools across geographic areas and time zones.
In 2021, MOBIA faced an extraordinary challenge that called for an innovative approach. Working with a smaller telecommunications provider, the MOBIA team was tasked with mapping a growing fibre network to support the client’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) expansion. With a distinct set of requirements, the project represented an ideal use case for an enterprise GIS implementation. However, some designers on the project were experienced with CAD, but not GIS.
Constrained by a limited budget, the regional telecommunications provider couldn’t support the cost of training project resources in addition to the licensing fees associated with a proprietary enterprise GIS. Recognizing that this presented a barrier to collaboration, and successfully mapping the network, MOBIA’s GIS experts saw a unique opportunity to implement a different kind of enterprise GIS.


• Reduce costs by designing and implementing an open-source enterprise GIS
• Enable multi-user database access and manage permission levels for different users
• Design custom templates and symbols to be used with the new GIS

With deep expertise in creating custom solutions using open-source software, MOBIA set out to design an enterprise GIS that would meet the project’s requirements without the high cost of licensing and customizing a proprietary solution. By saving these costs, the telecommunications provider would be able to invest in training project staff to design and maintain GIS maps.
With MOBIA’s project manager in New Brunswick, designers in Ontario, GIS personnel in Nova Scotia, and the client’s head office in Manitoba, it was important that the new GIS allow multi-user access to the database, which would ideally be in the cloud. To properly manage the level of access for different project resources, the system would also need user permissions.
Finally, fibre-to-the-home architecture has unique features that are best represented by custom templates and symbols. With a made-to-order enterprise GIS, MOBIA could visualize assets and design templates according to the client’s specific requirements. These visual elements streamlined mapping, allowing MOBIA’s designers to deliver a complete database of assets quickly. More importantly, these symbols and templates would be transferable to future projects.


PostGIS: Store, maintain &
analyze data
QGIS: Data visualizations


Taking the client’s requirements and budget into consideration, MOBIA built a custom enterprise GIS, called MOBIA Engineering Design System (MEDS).

To create an enterprise setting where everyone could collaborate and store their work in one central database, we combined QGIS–which is a standalone front-end GIS software that allows designers to draw, create, and analyze–with PostGIS, which is a spatial extension of the PostgreSQL database.
Justin Chang,
 GIS Analyst at MOBIA

Working closely with the telecommunications provider, the MOBIA GIS team identified three use cases for the new system:

• Map and catalog FTTH networks
• Analyze geospatial network data
• Make sound decisions about the network


Use Case 1:
Map & Catalog

Map & Catalog Assets

Working through the intricate process of bringing fibre to the home (FTTH) for its customers, the telecommunications provider saw immense value in having geographic context and a complete catalog of its assets in the field. “In telecommunications, we have a lot of field-collected data about assets. We need to be able to accurately map and catalog these assets in a visual way to track their status and the role they play in the overall network,” said Chang. As an enterprise GIS, MEDS empowers designers to visualize this complex network and streamlines the process of maintaining and expanding it.

Reduce Costs

Still considered to be relatively new, FSx hasn’t been widely used to migrate unstructured data. However, MOBIA’s team saw implementing the feature-rich, scalable file system as a unique opportunity to simplify the migration while future-proofing the client’s cloud-based data centre.
To create MEDS, we basically leveraged open-source tools that cost us a fraction of the price of using proprietary technology and customized them to deliver tangible benefits for our customers.
Justin Chang,
 GIS Analyst at MOBIA

Work as a Team

With a cloud database and multi-user access, MEDS enables project resources across provinces and time zones to collaborate on visualizing the telecommunications provider’s fibre network. Permissions offer a way to manage the level of access for different users, protecting important work.

Customized Templates & Symbols

Purpose-built to map fibre networks and support the telecommunications provider in the expansion and ongoing maintenance, MOBIA developed MEDS with custom templates and symbols to facilitate network mapping and planning. These custom visual assets are easily transferable to new projects, future-proofing the system and streamlining upcoming projects for GIS designers and the client.
Using custom templates and symbols, MEDS empowers designers to efficiently map telecommunications networks and catalog assets.

Use Case 2:

Spatial Analysis

At the heart of every effective geographic information system is a robust database. This makes a GIS a powerful tool for analysis. Powered by a PostGIS database, MEDS facilitates spatial analysis that enables effective network and maintenance planning for MOBIA’s client. For example, by querying the MEDS database, the client can efficiently plan installations within the confines of specific geographic areas.
For example, by looking at its GIS-mapped network, a telecommunications provider can decide which network access points (NAPs) and cables will be used to bring service to a new housing development.
Justin Chang,
 GIS Analyst at MOBIA

Statistical Analysis

MEDS also makes statistical analysis possible, allowing the telecommunications provider to discern customer trends that improve FTTH delivery and plan network maintenance activities based on the age, condition, and types of network assets. For any business, statistical analysis is an essential tool for making predictions based on past trends.

Market Analysis

Since telecommunications providers are tied to their locations, geographic data is important for market analysis. With MEDS, MOBIA’s telecommunications client can make decisions that grow its network and business by exploring factors like market size, network distribution, target audience segmentation, and even market trends based on location intelligence.

Suitability Analysis

With accurate mapping and a robust database, MEDS lets the telecommunications provider evaluate the ability of its network to meet the needs of its customers by comparing, and ranking sites and equipment. The suitability analysis that MEDS enables lends a new perspective to the telecommunications provider’s decision-making and planning.
At the heart of MEDS is a PostGIS database that makes it possible for MOBIA's client to conduct spatial, statistical, market, and suitability analyses that inform important business decisions.
Count dwellings within
a boundary.
Sum number of units per dwellings within a boundary.
SUM of number of dwellings within a boundary with a condition.

Use Case 3:Make Sound Decisions

Custom Reports & Analysis

MEDS improves decision-making for the telecommunications provider, with customizable reports and analysis. With MOBIA’s support and the QGIS SQL capabilities, the client has endless possibilities to tailor reports that address specific goals, identify potential problems, and inform sound business decisions. Underscoring the value of these custom reporting capabilities, Chang remarked:
With MEDS, MOBIA can help customers create tailored reports that allow them to analyze and manipulate data according to their needs. To do that with a proprietary GIS enterprise system, customers must invest in additional software that enables custom reporting and analysis.
Justin Chang,
 GIS Analyst at MOBIA

Capital Planning

In a rapidly changing, capital-intensive industry like telecommunications, capital planning is both critical and challenging. With robust geospatial data and deep analytics, MEDS gives the telecommunications provider insight into existing assets and opportunities for future investment


By streamlining maintenance on network equipment, MOBIA’s client could reduce costs and prevent network outages. The geospatial data from MEDS can be applied to maintain equipment proactively and in an efficient manner.

Improve Customer Service

As the highest priority for any service provider, customer service differentiates one telecommunications provider from another. MOBIA’s client can use MEDS to track service disruptions and explain them to customers. Furthermore, service histories help technicians pinpoint the root cause of network disruptions.
Custom Reports & Analysis
Capital Planning
Improve Customer Service


Launching MEDS In 2021, MOBIA initially rolled out the purpose-built enterprise GIS to one client. The system proved to be so effective that MOBIA onboarded four more telecommunications clients. These companies have leveraged the system’s location intelligence tools to decommission old network equipment, expand their fibre networks, and reduce the cost of day-to-day operations.
Future Phases

The Future of MEDS

As its clients continue to realize the cost savings of implementing an enterprise GIS built with open-source software, MOBIA anticipates wider adoption among regional telecommunications providers. The systems integrator also sees applications for the system with utilities and eventually renewable energy providers.
For example, a renewables company might want to know where all their wind turbines are, which ones are operable and which ones need servicing. They might even be interested in mapping the lifespan of their turbines and setting alerts to notify them that assets are due for replacement. It’s a great way to catalog, manage, and analyze assets.
Justin Chang,
 GIS Analyst at MOBIA
A key differentiator for MEDS is the open-source software that it’s built on. While many companies using enterprise geographic information systems invest heavily in licensing and customization, MEDS offers a cost-effective solution that’s customizable. Supported by MOBIA’s GIS experts, the system can be tailored for a wide range of industries and applications.
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