UK 3G data coverage in national parks and protected areas

Understanding 3G data coverage in remote areas is pretty important for environmentalist geeks, as typically our mobile apps will target use outside of urban, habited areas. To ensure our apps work, we have to know how much we can rely on the internet and cloud based data processing and storage services through mobile 3G data services. Ideally we’d have some numbers too.

Last Thursday, I presented some back-of-a-napkin GIS work on 3G data coverage in UK national parks and protected areas as part of the Symposium on Mobile & Conservation at the Oxford University Biodiversity Institute. I’ve written up the methods below, but the take home message is that ~18% of UK protected areas have 3G data coverage, assuming Vodaphone has a similar pattern of network distribution across the UK to other mobile operators.

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