Nanometrics offers a range of site survey, installation, maintenance and decommissioning services to ensure your network is properly installed and will meet its monitoring mandate.
Preliminary assessments of the idealized site locations resulting from network modelling are done via a table-top analysis of satellite or aerial imagery, land survey mapping data and cellular coverage maps. Possible sites are evaluated based on five criteria:
- Accessibility (accessible year-round with a 4WD vehicle)
- Solar exposure (unobstructed 180° view of the equator-facing horizon)
- Telemetry (sufficient cell signal or clear line-of-sight for satellite)
- Site noise (as far as possible from industrial facilities, highways, etc.)
- Permitting (minimum permitting requirements to reduce overall project cost and timeline to completion)
Viable sites are the ones which best balance these criteria with estimated installation and operational costs and the overall performance requirements of the network.
There’s no substitute for a physical site survey
Table-top surveys can predict the general feasibility of a network, but there’s no substitute for a physical site survey. Conditions in the field, particularly in remote areas, can change quickly: new roads and infrastructure are constructed, while others that appear to be available are overgrown or abandoned.
On-site assessment also allows for direct measurement of cell signal strength, line-of-sight angles, collection of site noise samples and the beginning of engagement with local stakeholders. In remote, northern areas, site noise isn’t much of a concern, given the limited development in the area. Getting the proper “look angle” for satellite, on the other hand, can be difficult because of the trees and mountains.
Once the optimal sites are selected, we can confirm their suitability by rerunning the network model to confirm that the performance requirements will be met.
Permits and landowners
Permits are required to install stations on land owned by a third party, whether provincial/territorial, federally or privately owned. We work with land agents who are licensed to negotiate agreements with landholders and will obtain all the necessary permits, including permits to access to the site and crossing or proximity agreements for ground disturbances or other activities close to pipelines, roads or any buried utilities.
Landowners are paid per square metre of land used for the station. The station footprint is minimal, with a hole only 2’ to 4’ deep and 8” diameter. The single equipment enclosure can rest on the ground, and depending on access to power/cell signal, a short mast is deployed for a solar panel and/or cellular antenna, or these can also be mounted directly on the enclosure. A fence is put up around the station, with the landowner's’ permission.
Once the permits are in place, each station can generally be installed in a few hours. Stations typically require little to no access for routine maintenance during operation.