With the US Government announcement that Cyclone Matthew was on its way, many were eager to predict its impact. At that moment we recognize that location matters. Where are our infrastructures, customers, suppliers, employees, etc. and what better than a map to represent the situation?
This is the logistic dashboard of “Production Co”:
In this example with “Production Co”, we have several production sites spread over the world. The supply chain, represented by arcs between sites, is quite complex and the capacity to supply the volumes (represented arcs by arc width) produced by each site affects directly the interdependent system.
Modern BI proposes a vast choice of visualizations. But a map is the best choice to represent the situation. Solutions like Galigeo let you design some creative thematic maps. In our example, we know at a glance and in real time the performance of each site. The thematic mapping is fully interactive and users can show/hide their indicators on demand.
As the news report on the incoming threat:
Hurricane Matthew might affect some of the sites and our dashboard definitely needs to include that information. Ideally we should be able to display the real time position and intensity of the cyclone. But we are most concerned about the potential flooding zones
Fortunately, a quick search on Google gets us to the NOOA website:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is part of the US Department of Commerce.
That is good news, their data is available through public services in various formats. We chose to access the data through an Arcgis Server map service. The NWS Forecasts Guidance Warnings is the most appropriate considering what we are looking for:
We now need to associate the NOOA map service URLs to the Galigeo dashboard:
Instantly, the NOOA data appears now in the list of layers:
We conclude here that Production Co is lucky because none of its sites is directly affected by Matthew. That would not be the case if the hurricane had been in the Gulf of Mexico.
Think of going to see your boss with this valuable information even before she asks?
Let’s have a look to the potential flooding by zooming in:
Our site is still in the safe zone! We will have to watch the evolution carefully…
Strategically, the following dashboard represents the zones with a high risk potential:
This example about a logistic dashboard might seem quite specific to a large group having to cope with complex world logistics (that’s not everyone’s case!). However we use to say that 80% of data contains a geographic element. That means that BI report data visualization is ready for maps. And as we can see from the above example, with Location Intelligence (the subject of this article) we can naturally cross reference heterogeneous information on the same visualization support. I am sure that those who read this have experienced difficulties doing data enrichment and trying to match dimensions from various universe or databases. If that’s your case, try to do it with a map, things might be much easier! You may even get a promotion.