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June 9, 2009

GIS Mapping Good. Advanced GIS Mapping Even Better.

Geographic Maps Place Key Metrics in a Geographically-relevant Form

Geographic maps in business Intelligence let users make better decisions through geographic visualization and analysis of data. Geographic maps (or GIS maps) are a mashup of a Web-based geographic mapping interface--such as Google's--with corporate data from a database, Web service or other data source.

With good geographic mapping software, report developers can build pages in which markers show up on a map--markers that are tied to a specific metric, like for example retail-strore revenue. Thus, the size of the marker can give an at-a-glance idea of the relative performance of the stores. Also, the same markers can be set up to allow drill down or drill through to another report.

But advanced geographic mapping goes one step further. With advanced GIS mapping features, areas can also be color-coded not unlike a heat map, base on the underlying data to show how specific areas are performing (e.g. for a sales organization) or how they are affected by an event (e.g. appreciation of real estate).

Most data has a component that can be tied to a place; an address, postal code, global positioning system (GPS) location, census block, city, region, country, etc. Geographic mapping lets you visualize, analyze, create and manage data with a geographic component. And you can build compelling maps that help you visualize patterns, trends and exceptions in your data.

Benefits of Geographic Visualization

Using geographic mapping and visualization, users can visualize, explore and analyze data, revealing patterns, trends and relationships that are not readily apparent in other analysis features. Mapping can help you better answers questions such as:

- Where are my customers?
- What is the environmental impact of a new development?
- Where should I put new stores or facilities?
- How can I maximize my sales route or that of my reps?
- Who is impacted in an emergency?
- What are the highest traffic areas of a city?

The best geographic visualization tools offer the possibility to download boundary information from commonly available sources (e.g. the US Census) without having to build everything by hand. Also, they enable drill-down, drill-through to other reports, as well as the placing of markers on the map that are tied to relevant metrics.

Posted by Hound of the BI-skervilles at June 9, 2009 12:00 PM

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