[Talk-us] FCC Antenna Structure Import

Jeffrey Ollie jeff at ocjtech.us
Mon Feb 8 17:47:19 GMT 2010

The FCC maintains a database of antenna structures which includes an
approximate geographic location.  Since this data maintained by the US
Government the data should be public domain.  The main entry page for
the database is here: <http://wireless.fcc.gov/antenna/>

I'd like to do some semi-automatic imports of this data in my
locality. I don't think I'll do mass automated imports for large areas
because many antennas have already been mapped and the coordinates
provided in the FCC database are only approximate.  What I plan on
doing is generating a OSM file, loading it into JOSM, and then
manually de-duplicate and adjust the coordinates based upon aerial

Here's what a sample looks like (at least in the current iteration of
the code).  I'm still looking over the data to see if there are any
other useful fields that can be pulled out of the FCC database.

  <node lat="41.732833" visible="true" version="1" lon="-93.582639" id="-5">
    <tag k="man_made" v="tower"/>
    <tag k="access" v="private"/>
    <tag k="tower:type" v="communication"/>
    <tag k="ele" v="278.9"/>
    <tag k="height" v="37.8"/>
    <tag k="fcc:registration_number" v="1246498"/>
    <tag k="fcc:unique_system_identifier" v="2645662"/>
    <tag k="operator" v="TowerCo Assets LLC"/>
    <tag k="website"
    <tag k="source" v="Federal Communications Commission Antenna
Structure Registration Database"/>
    <tag k="addr:housenumber" v="210"/>
    <tag k="addr:street" v="Northeast Delaware Avenue"/>
    <tag k="addr:city" v="Ankeny"/>
    <tag k="addr:state" v="IA"/>
    <tag k="addr:postcode" v="50021"/>
    <tag k="addr:country" v="US"/>

The "fcc:registration_number" should be posted on a sign near the
tower, which should make it easier to match up ground observations
with what is in the database.  The "fcc:unique_system_identifier" is a
key into the FCC's database.  My script uses the services of
<http://geocoder.us/> to parse the addresses in the database.  If
geocoder.us can't parse the address I just stick the unparsed address
in a "addr:full" tag.

I'd love to know if I'm being stupid or if there are any improvements
people have.  Once the script seems fairly stable I'll upload it
somewhere and post the location.

Jeff Ollie

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