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The Case Against Google Maps in IBM Cognos Reports (Part I)

Posted by Chris Ovens on Tue, Jan 25, 2011

(the mini-series...)

We are often asked whether SpotOn can integrate Google Maps with Cognos reports, like we do with Esri map services.  Two part answer:

  1. Yes we could;
  2. We choose not to...

Arrogant, hard-headed, downright dumb?  Quite possibly, but here is the 30 second rationale.  Firstly, there are lots of folks exploring Google Maps - Cognos integration - and at SpotOn we tend to "go where they ain't."

More importantly, we don't believe that the Google Maps is the right choice for IBM Cognos clients.  Google Maps is simply the mapping solution that everybody knows - like the guy who loses his car keys at night and only searches under the street lamp because that's where the light is...

Google Maps has raised incredible awareness of the value of information presented spatially.  Who hasn't planned an outing, short or long, without first getting a lay of the land through Google Maps.  "Where the nearest dry cleaner, and can I get a Starbucks along the way, and drop Roofus at the Doggie Spa."

"Google Maps is my consumer mapping solution; why wouldn't I marry it with my Cognos business analytics?"  

The nutshell answer is that enterprise class BI demands enterprise class mapping.   

There are numerous supporting points to this argument, which I intend to explore in this "Google Maps Mini-Series".  The point to leave you with today:

Google Maps is a visualization solution, enterprise mapping (supported by GIS technologies) covers visualization but also enables data analytics.

Cognos BI users are used to the self-service capabilities afforded by reporting prompting, drill-downs, and drill through target reports.  Once these users began to see information presented spatially, they begin asking "spatial" questions: "show me the points inside of this 5 mile radius; now drive my list report from these spatial results."

If you have trouble visualizing the difference, I would highly recommend checking out these moving pictures.

In our next installment of the Case Against Google Maps in Cognos: Can't We Do More Than Dots on the Map...?


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