Step 1b: Select a Top-Down and/or Bottoms-Up mapping approach

Once a review of the two overall approaches (top-down and bottom-up) has been conducted, a decision can be made on which approach to pursue, or which elements from both approaches to combine. As the Solutions Guide has been drafted from the perspective of individual communities that are not yet served by accessible and affordable telecommunication services, it will focus on the elements needed in the bottom-up approach. There are, however, many firms and resources (as noted in the description of the top-down approach) that can be contacted for comprehensive support for a top-down approach. The bottom-up approach tends to be more user- and locality-driven. The table below summarizes the pros and cons of both approaches.

Table 4: The top-down versus the bottom-up approach: pros and cons


Top-down approach

  • Comprehensive view across a large geographic region
  • Can identify multiple communities in need of connectivity service support
  • Can fulfil multiple objectives in robust data gathering and monitoring (service obligations, electrification issues, etc.)

Bottom-up approach

  • Able to focus in depth on developing a very granular picture of connectivity for a specific locality that would not necessarily be possible for a large region or many communities
  • Can be conducted and completed more effectively with fewer resources


  • Resource intensive: time, labour, capital, skills and processing power
  • May require regulatory intervention to obtain certain datasets
  • Requires commitment to ensure data validity and accuracy (updating)
  • May bias intervention approach if the datasets are incomplete (e.g. focusing only on cellular options vs all wireless technologies)
  • Reduces the geographic focus to a single or a few communities
  • Affects only the locality in view, not a country or region
  • Can also be time- and labour-intensive in the drive to collect as much relevant data as possible