The Map object is my favourite objects in BOARD as it is simple to use, highly visual, intuitive and interactive. With little training, users can analyse data without knowing they are doing so; an important factor when introducing technology to tech shy corporate users.
Using this object, a user can see properties or locations specific to them and with enhanced and dynamic context; using Nexel, I can calculate relevant KPIs, colour bandings and circle radii dependant on the selections made by the user.
I would like to suggest that the ability to select a radius area on a map with a pointing device to be incorporated into the MAP object.
Such a feature would provide users with the ability to:
- Select a geographic point as the epicentre for a pre-defined radius to select only locations with it.
- Draw freehand areas to select only the locations within it.
This functionality is commonly known as ‘Radius Around a Point On a Map’ or RAPOM and is available in other BI offerings either as a native feature, such as that provided by Qlik-Sense or by exploiting an existing mapping application such as Power BI with Bing Maps.
The method I see being implemented to use RAPOM would allow users to either draw a circle or freehand shape and use this area as a selection to show only items that are geographically within the selected area.
Currently, a restricted solution can be developed using dataview configurations, Nexel and procedures but is rather difficult to handover to another developer without also going through all the principle steps first as it is not intuitive.
Furthermore, the current workaround is difficult to train corporate users to use when their experience with map tools is based on ‘Google Maps’.
How the workaround works
The solution I have currently in development requires the user to first select a property from a dataview; geodetic considerations have been implemented into formulae. Once this has been done, the user can specify the radius from the target property and so select only the properties within the radius area for further analysis. This radius can be altered as much as the user desires.
Video demonstration of work-a-round
I felt it would be easier to demonstrate both the point of the idea and the workaround and so I've attached a short video of the process I have currently developed. The video demonstrates a fully functioning model and is recorded in real time on a test dataset of 100 properties. The lat/long data is included at dataload. The radius data is calculated 'on-the-fly' when a new EPICENTRE is selected.
I appreciate that the current method could be further developed, shortfalls of the method used are:
- User can only select a property/location already included within the dataset; no arbitrary epicentre.
- There is no way to pick an arbitrary location, only to type in a lat/long or similar data.
- There is no way of drawing a radius for freehand area.
- BOARD procedures and holding cubes must be used to calculate distances each time a new target location is selected and this can take quite a while on large datasets.
- A number of steps are required to pass variables.
- Current solution is difficult to handover to other stakeholders.
- Training resources are required to aid adoption of the feature.
Co-ordinates capture - IDEA May 2018
This idea is in addition to idea i submitted in May 2018, here. I would like to say that I do believe that the concept of capturing the latitude and longitude from the Map object is still a valid one. Capturing this data would allow for arbitrary epicentres to be selected from either the click of a mouse or allow developers to exploit the data for inclusion when building geo-models.