Major vendors products

In the next sections, we will present commercial solutions that are associated to the presented development approaches. In order to identify the products that will best suit his(her) needs, the reader is invited to use the evaluation criteria proposed in this website.

The information on this page is from the results of a technology review conducted in the Summer of 2007 (and updated in 2009) by the research team of the Industrial Research Chair in Geospatial Databases for Decision Support of Université Laval (Quebec). This review aimed at evaluating commercial products that offer combined capabilities of multidimensional analysis and cartography [4]. A complete list of OLAP solutions can be found at TDWI: OLAP.

At the end of this page, the commercial products that cannot be included in the defined categories are listed.


Integrated solutions:

In an integrated solution, both OLAP and GIS features are offered. The main graphical user interface is custom and built over the underlying technologies (i.e. OLAP and GIS) and the SOLAP application is developed to benefit from the integration of the OLAP and the GIS functions. We named this integration "SOLAP Technology". Consequently, these tools integrate the management of the multidimensional and spatial data and they facilitate the deployment and the update of spatial datacubes.

SAS Web OLAP viewer for Java (SAS) is deployed on an architecture that consists of ESRI ArcGIS coupled with SAS Enterprise BI Server (for access to multidimensional datacubes). This solution allows for visualizing multidimensional data on maps.

Map4Decision v1.0 (Intelli3) is deployed on an architecture that consists of a Web-GIS (JMap Server) combined with relational or multidimensional OLAP access. With this solution, it is possible to visualize the contents of datacubes defined in a relational OLAP architecture (using a JDBC connection) or defined in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (direct access using MDX) and to link these cubes to geospatial data. Map4Decision supports all the popular vector and raster formats of the GIS industry.

Panorama NovaView GIS (Panorama) integrates existing NovaView products with leading ESRI ArcGIS Server systems by rendering analytical information from the cube onto a map. It is possible to access multidimensional datacubes from Microsoft Analysis Services or SAP BW.

 

GIS-dominant solutions:

The GIS-dominant approach offers GIS capabilities inside a GIS graphical user interface. Usually, only simplified access to OLAP data sources is offered and practically no OLAP capability is presented. Alliances between OLAP and GIS vendors facilitate the development of such applications. Many examples of collaboration exist and examples of resulting solutions are:

OLAP Add-on for ArcGIS 9.1 or 9.2 (ESRI) that allows for the visualization, in the ArcGIS environment, of read-only data extracted from an OLAP Server (e.g. Microsoft SQL Server, SAS OLAP Server or SAP BW). The tool offers features allowing to manually connect the read-only multidimensional data export to an ArcGIS cartographic layer. This solution requires ESRI ArcIMS or ESRI ArcGIS Server. This solution is unidirectional, which means that OLAP operators are available on descriptive OLAP data only. The Add-on can be downloaded.

MapPoint 2002-2010 OLAP Wizard Add-in (Microsoft) is a software intended for the analysis, the visualization and the communication of information, using maps and geographical data. The OLAP add-in uses the .cub format (from Microsoft) and converts it in a tabular format from which MapPoint can make OLAP requests and create maps. The map creation process is done manually by the user in the OLAP request assistant. The Microsoft SQL Server datacube (.cub) must contain geographical components such as addresses, place names, coordinates (e.g. longitudes / latitudes) so MapPoint can automatically represent the measures on maps. This tool does not support spatial drilling operations on maps. An access is available to download the add-in.

Location Intelligence Component v.1 (Pitney Bowes) is deployed on an architecture that consists of the cartographic viewer MapXtreme coupled with an OLAP tool (MicroStrategy or Business Objects). The server administrator must prepare an XML configuration file storing the reference between the object identifiers on the map and the multidimensional data identifiers.

Map Intelligence (Integeo) is a middleware linking a geospatial platform (e.g. ESRI, MapInfo, Google Maps, ...) to a BI platform (e.g. Oracle/Hyperion, IBM/Cognos, Business Objects, MicroStrategy, ...). It offers cartographic capabilities and many spatial analysis operators on maps.

Oracle Fusion Middleware MapViewer (Oracle) Oracle allows to combine Oracle OLAP Option and the MapViewer in order to develop ad hoc applications. The applications are built using JDeveloper.

 

OLAP-dominant solutions:

The OLAP-dominant approach offers full OLAP capabilities inside an OLAP graphical user interface, but limited GIS functionalities. Unfortunatly, many commercial OLAP products do not support cartographic displays and thus cannot be considered in this study. Generally, the OLAP-dominant solutions are bidirectional, which implies that the selection on one display (e.g. map) affects the result on the other display (e.g. OLAP table). Examples of commercial products are:

TARGIT BI Suite 2K9 (TARGIT) is deployed on an architecture that consists of a proprietary cartographic viewer coupled with multidimensional datacube access (Pentaho Mondrian, Microsoft Analysis Services, IBM DB2 Cube Views, Oracle OLAP). TARGIT allows for the configuration of MapInfo layers for the deployment of 'scalable maps'. A scalable map is a map where the cartographic levels are associated with the elements of a multidimensional datacube and where the navigation between the levels is conducted using a zoom.

Tableau software 5.0 (Tableau Software) is a visualization tool that has access to multidimensional datacubes (Microsoft Analysis Services, Oracle Essbase). This solution requires a specific data format to define the spatial data.

JRubik (Source Forge) is an OLAP client based on JPivot components. The OLAP client can connect to a Mondrian OLAP server (from Pentaho). However, the JRubik project has no update on its website since 2005.

Most popular OLAP servers and OLAP clients support cartographic capabilities provided by GIS-dominant or integrated solutions:

N.B. Examples of commercial OLAP products that do not support cartographic displays:

Proclarity Analytics 6.0 (Proclarity-Microsoft) does not seem to support cartographic displays like the previous version 4.0 did.

Cognos Analysis Studio (Cognos)

Beyond 20/20 Perspective (Beyond 20/20)

Media (Speedware)

 

Out of category products:

The following products are reporting tools:

Integration Kit for ESRI GIS (APOS Systems) offers a bidirectional bridge between ESRI geographic data and BussinessObjects XI products. This solution requires ESRI ArcIMS or ESRI ArcGIS Server.

GIS adapter (ESRI) for WebFOCUS (Information Builders) can be used to deploy reporting solutions that comprise maps.

Web Data Server (Beyond 20/20) is designed so users can easily access and analyze multidimensional files, and then save or download them for further use. This solution integrates a bidirectional bridge between a map browser and Beyond 20/20 reporting tool.


The following products are spatial dashboard tools and thus cannot be considered as SOLAP solutions. Usually, they require major developments in order to build a custom front-end, user-interface and drill operators for every new application:

Dundas (Dundas)

iDashboards (iDashboards)

Syntell 4i (Syntell)

 


Finally, the following products are visualization tools that do not support multidimensional analysis (OLAP) and thus cannot be considered as solutions that combine multidimensional analysis and cartography:

Push’n See (Korem)

GeoVISTA Studio (GeoVISTA Center)

AVS Express (Advanced Visual Systems).


References:

[1] LGS Group, 2000. Analysis of health surveillance business intelligence tools & applications. Final report for Health Canada.

[2] Bédard,Y., M.-J. Proulx & S. Rivest, 2005, Enrichissement du OLAP pour l'analyse géographique : exemples de réalisation et différentes possibilités technologiques, Revue des Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information - Entrepôts de données et l'Analyse en ligne, sous la direction de F. Bentayeb, O. Boussaïd, J. Darmont et S. Loudcher, Cépaduès-Éditions, France, pp. 1-20.

[3] Rivest, S., Y. Bédard, M.-J. Proulx, M. Nadeau, F. Hubert & J. Pastor, 2005, SOLAP: Merging Business Intelligence with Geospatial Technology for Interactive Spatio-Temporal Exploration and Analysis of Data, Journal of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) "Advances in spatio-temporal analysis and representation", Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 17-33.

[4] Proulx, M.-J. & Y. Bédard, 2007, Evaluation of commercial products that offer combined capabilities of OLAP analysis and cartography. (French only- Évaluation des produits commerciaux offrant des capacités combinées d'analyse OLAP et de cartographie), Research report, Industrial Research Chair in Geospatial Databases for Decision Support, Departement of Geomatics Sciences, September 25th, 2007, Laval University. 55 pp.

Université Laval - Canada
Updated: November 2009