In the first post of this series we touched on the fact that consumer mapping (i.e. Google Maps) is essentially about presentation. Digging deeper, consumer mapping solutions put dots on maps and let you know if there is a clustering of dots. A nice example of leveraging these capabilities is the public crime reporting site that has just been launched in the UK.
So picture this, you're the head of BI department supporting all IBM Cognos reporting initiatives in your organization. Your CEO just came across the police.uk site and says "I gotta have me one of those... top priority!". The project is in your lap and it's too late to point out that Mr CEO missed the £300,000 pricetag to develop his new vision.
Damage control - what do you need:
- Cognos API/Mashup Services developer - check.
- Google Maps - it's free, so check. (uh-oh, we'll come back to this one...)
- Data... ah crap! The warehouse doesn't have lat/long or detailed address data. Data work in our future...
Executives ponder why your department is not "responsive to the business needs" - you spend hours on LinkedIn pondering the pros and cons of life as an independent BI consultant.
Here the kicker, the data you want is there; it's aggregated to the various geographies: country, state, zip, county, sales territory, etc.
The double-kicker, organizing and analyzing your Cognos report data at the appropiate geographical region level (like state or ZIP code) is going to have more immediate impact and value to the business than wading through 10,000 individual location points.
Thematic shading, or coloring of regions, to compare high versus low performance is what were talking about here. South-east versus north-west results. Drilling down to a city level and understanding which zip or postal areas are driving business. Using this information to focus your marketing efforts.
Now, BI Dude or Dudette, picture this scenario:
- CEO says, "Give me a map!"
- Three hours later, you deliver this:
Maybe no LinkedIn surfing for today...