The GeoBI software market based on the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms 2011

GeoBI Concepts
This post is an extended abstract of my presentation at the Geomatics 2011 Conference held in Montreal on October 12-13 titled “The GeoBI software market and application example using Oracle BIEE 11g”, presented in collaboration with the Web Services and Geomatics Project at Infrastructure Canada. Intelli3 made several presentations during this two-day event.
This post will present the GeoBI software offer from the leaders of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms 2011. Then, criteria for evaluating the capacity of these software suites to fulfill the geospatial BI needs of an organisation will be discussed. An overview of the advantages and limitations of the various categories of GeoBI software will also be presented. The last section of this post will include an example of geospatial BI application developed using Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g (OBIEE) .

The GeoBI software offer

BI (Business Intelligence) client technologies can be grouped in 4 families, according to the type of results they produce and the type of interaction they allow. The families are:
  • Querying and reporting tools,
  • OLAP and visualization tools,
  • Dashboard tools and,
  • Predictive analysis tools.
GeoBI software adds a cartographic component to one or more of the families, in a BI suite (e.g. OBIEE 11g that integrates a mapping component to OLAP-type analysis and to dashboards), or in a standalone integration software (e.g. Map4Decision that integrates a mapping component to OLAP-type analysis). The integration of a cartographic component to the first three families is now common on the market. However, when we look at predictive analysis software, the integration of a cartographic component is not widespread and is still mostly limited to research labs.
The following table provides an overview of the integration of mapping components within the software suites identified in the Leaders quadrant of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence.
Software Version Geospatial Component
SAS Business Intelligence 9.3 – Offers geospatial capabilities through the SAS Bridge for ESRI (3.5) software, which is an ArcGIS extension
– Bidirectional data exchange between SAS and ArcGIS 10
QlikTech QlikView 11 – Allows for creating geospatial mashups (using Google)
– GeoQlik (Business Geografic) offers a geospatial extension to QlikView and allows for integrating maps in the created data views
SAP Business Objects XI4 – SAP Business Objects Integration for ESRI GIS allows for a bidirectional data exchange between ArcGIS and BO
– Allows for the development of custom components (e.g. maps) that can be integrated in dashboards
Information Builders WebFOCUS 8 – WebFOCUS for Google Maps allows for the development of geospatial mashups
– WebFOCUS Map Viewer integrates the mapping capabilities of ArcIMS and ArcGIS
IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10 – Geoset Manager (MapInfo) and Cognos Map Manager are used for the creation of cartographic views; a basic geospatial dataset is provided
– SpotOn offers the Vantage Maps software that allows for the exchange of data between Cognos BI and ArcGIS
– Integeo offers the Map Intelligence software that allows for the exchange of data between Cognos BI and MapInfo, ArcGIS or GeoServer
– Cognos Mashup Service and IBM Mashup Center allow for the creation of geospatial mashups (Google)
MicroStrategy 9r3 – Integrates with ArcGIS for the creation of cartographic views
– Allows for creating geospatial mashups (Google)
Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g – Allows for creating map views with geospatial data stored in Oracle Spatial
– MapViewer and Map Builder are used for configuring the geospatial data that will be displayed in OBIEE
Microsoft Business Intelligence – SQL Server 2008 R2 allows for configuring cartographic options for the creation of map views, including the use of Bing Maps and geospatial functions
– Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2007 is used as the integration platform
Many software that offer GeoBI capabilities are available on the market. They combine at different levels Spatial Data aspects and BI solutions (e.g. Map4Decision, see note at the end of the post).

Evaluating the software offer

With this diversity of products, the choice is not obvious. It could be useful to define a “GeoBi Magic Quadrant », for example. There are many possibilities for the definition of the quadrant’s axes and the classification of software on the axes. In our presentation, we proposed the following axes, and the associated criteria, that allow one to discriminate between them:
Axis 1: Geospatial Capacity – the extent of supported geospatial capabilities
  • Level of integration in the current geospatial processes (data creation, data updates, …)
  • Supported geospatial data formats (and standards)
  • Types of maps
  • Visual variables
  • Types of geometries
  • Cartographic functions (pan, zoom, …)
  • Navigation functions on maps (drill-down, roll-up, swap, …)
  • Spatial analysis functions
  • Management of the geometric evolution of features
  • Geospatial datasets integrated with the software
Axis 2: Level of consolidation (Consolidated solution = application/software suite coming from a single vendor and completely integrated vs. Mashup = new application/new product resulting from a combination of components coming from various sources/vendors)
  • Number of components to install/maintain
  • Number of different sources/vendors
  • Level of integration in the current software/data architectures
  • Level of automation of the various processes (e.g. for producing a map)
  • Level of security
  • Format conversion required
  • Delays of data propagation
  • Development/integration efforts required
The advantages and limitations related to these criteria are presented in the following tables:
Axis 1: Geospatial Capacity
Low High
Simple visualization High level of interactivity
Low level of interactivity Flexible
Low flexibility Advanced analyses
Basic analyses High level of integration in the geospatial processes in place
Low level of integration in the geospatial processes in place May be more complex to implement
Axis 2: Level of consolidation
Low High
Acquisition costs may be lower Facilitated implementation
Integration efforts required Facilitated maintenance
Automation efforts required Facilitated integration in the actual environments
Security management efforts required Facilitated automation
Maintenance efforts may be high Integrated security management

Application example using Oracle BIEE 11g

A GeoBI application based on Oracle BIEE 11g has been developed at Infrastructure Canada. The goal of the project was to develop a proof of concept to demonstrate the capabilities of OBIEE, combined with Oracle Spatial, to fulfill the business needs of Infrastructure Canada. These needs are at various levels: (1) for designing and developing politics and programs, (2) for implementing the programs, and (3) for evaluating the outcomes of these programs. Infrastructure Canada leads federal efforts in the implementation of various infrastructure funding programs in Canada, among them, the Economic Action Plan. In the context of this project, 2 information reports have been reproduced in order to integrate cartographic views. A geospatial dashboard has been developed, including 5 sections: programs, projects, risks, benefits and communications.
Geospatial Integration into Oracle OBIEE

Geospatial Integration into Oracle BIEE

I invite you to check out my presentation (at the Geomatics 2011 conference):
View more PowerPoint from Sonia Rivest
I also invite you to check out Dr. Yvan Bedard’s presentation reviewing the basics of GeoBI and the needs that the related technologies aim to fulfill.
[message type=”warning”]NOTE: In this post, Intelli3’s professional services team only wanted to discuss the solutions identified by Gartner in the leader’s quadrant of its Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms 2011. A new post will be made available in two weeks positioning Intelli3’s solution Map4Decision. We hope you will come back and read this new post to discover Map4Decision, a fairly unique and innovative Geospatial Business Intelligence solution for business people and analysts.[/message]
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