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#Cognos Analytics 11.0.5 Mapping and Visualization FAQ

By KEVIN MCFAUL posted Mon December 05, 2016 10:48 AM

This FAQ discusses the Cognos Analytics R5 mapping and RAVE 2 visualization functionality.

1 Mapping in Cognos Analytics R5

Cognos Analytics R5 sees the introduction of basic mapping capabilities to the product. This release is critical to establishing the technical foundation to allow us to move hastily to add additional mapping capabilities in 2017.

1.1 What Interfaces Support the new Mapbox Maps?
In the R5 release, the new Mapbox based maps are supported in Dashboards only. You will see two very similar icons:

The left hand icon is for the new Mapbox based maps. The right hand icon is for the older style maps.

1.2 Is there metadata support for Geospatial data items?
Yes, there is support for geospatial items in data modules. Items tagged as geospatial show the icon as so:

Note that the geospatial tagging is actually ahead of the mapping capabilities as discussed below. For example, City would be tagged in the metadata as type geospatial but we cannot currently map city data.

1.3 What map coverage is supported?
In Cognos Analytic R5, we support worldwide base maps and about 200 countries and their states as polygons allowing you to analyze data by country and state.

The list of countries supported in R5 is defined here.

The list of Provinces/States supported in R5 is defined here.

1.4 I am Having Trouble Mapping my Data to the R5 maps
I am getting this error message when I try to create a map in a Dashboard:

Ensure that the data you are mapping is listed at the links above.

Ensure you are not trying to map a country and a province/state in the same layer (using the same data item).

For example, the GO Sales sample data has a both US States and non-state values such as Tokyo in the data resulting in the error above.

1.5 What About the 5 Levels of Admin Polygons and 3 Levels of Zip/Postal Code Polygons you promised?
We have contracted for global support for 5 levels of admin boundaries and zip/post codes; unfortunately time did not permit us to integrate those polygons.

This is our highest priority for mapping in 2017.

1.6 Is Mapbox being used?
Yes, Mapbox is being used to serve the base maps only.

1.7 Where do the Country and State Polygons Come From?
In the R5 release, the Country and State polygons are distributed and installed with Cognos Analytics.

1.8 Is Internet Access Required?
Yes, Mapbox is a cloud based service. Note: all access to the Mapbox server is from the user’s web browser in the R5 release. There is no server access required in this release.

1.9 What Data is sent to the Mapbox server?
None. Mapbox is used only to display the base maps.

1.10 Does Cognos Analytics Support Street Level Maps?

Cognos Analytics R5 claims to have street level maps and yet you can only map data to Countries and State?
In order to understand this, we need to dig into a bit of mapping technology. Specifically, we need to understand Base Maps and Features.

1.10.1 Base Maps
Base Maps are the underlying maps images. Think of Base Maps as the pretty pictures. Here are some example of a base maps from Mapbox:

Mapbox Base Maps are detailed down to the street level as can be seen in a couple of these examples.

Base Maps look nice but they are not functional. For a better look at Mapbox base maps, take a look here:

You cannot display data using only a Base Map. To display data you need to add features.

1.10.2 Features
Features are functional geospatial objects which are displayed atop the base map. Examples of features are:

  • Polygons such as countries and states

  • Points such as cities, cell tower locations or traffic light locations

  • Lines such as roads, train lines and flight routes

If you created features atop this treasure map , an outline of the island would be a polygon feature, the red route to the treasure would be defined using a line feature, and the X would be defined as a point feature:

A polygon feature is defined by a series of line segments that defines an enclosed area. A line segment is a straight line between two locations defined by latitude/longitude. A complex polygon may have hundreds of even thousands of line segments. A polygon that traced the simple island above could have dozens of line segments depending on how accurately you decide to make the polygon. Imagine trying to draw a circle using only straight lines.

A line feature is defined series of line segments that do not define an enclosed area (they can cross each other).
A point feature is defined by latitude/longitude location.

1.10.3 So, Do We Support Street Level Maps?
Yes, for display purposes in base maps.

No, not for analysis but we intend to add the ability for you to add streets as features using custom features in 2017.

1.11 What are Custom Features?
Custom features are features defined by your business and could be almost anything geospatial such sales regions, flight or driving routes, sensor locations, streets, railroads, light poles and so on. Features can have properties such as a name that identifies it such as “Asia PAC Sales Region”.

1.12 Does Cognos Analytics 11 R5 Support Custom Features?
No, we do not support custom features in R5. This is a high priority capability for 2017.

We expect to support custom features in in two ways:
1. Import them from GeoJSON
2. Draw them yourself in Mapbox Studio

1.13 Could I Use Custom Features to Analyze Data at the Street Level?
Yes, when we have custom feature support you would be able analyze any geospatial data you want.
For example, a driving route would be a line feature. This driving route would be displayed atop the base map that has a picture of the streets giving a complete visual. You might style the driving route using line width and style to make it stand out visually.

1.13.1 Where Would I Get This Driving Route?
You will need to provide it. You might get it from an application that tracks vehicle routes. You might hand draw the driving route in Mapbox Studio. You might create it in another application and import it as GeoJSON. You might purchase the data from elsewhere.

1.14 What is GeoJSON?
GeoJSON is an open standard for defining geospatial features: polygons, lines and points.
GeoJSON is a human readable format which makes it particularly nice to deal with.

1.15 Does R5 Support GeoJSON?
No, R5 does not support GeoJSON. We are planning on custom features using GeoJSON in early 2017.

2 Visualizations
Dashboards and reports both use RAVE 2 visualizations.

2.1 What RAVE 2 Visualizations are in R5 Dashboards?
In Dashboards, the following visualizations are RAVE 2:

2.2 What RAVE 2 Visualizations are in R5 Reports?
In reporting, the following visualizations are RAVE 2:

2.3 How do I Create Visualizations and Charts in R5 Reports?
The Visualization object is used to create both RAVE 1 and RAVE 2 visualizations and Cognos 10 charts:

The visualization gallery has a filter option that allows you to select RAVE 2, RAVE 1 and Cognos 10 charts:

2.4 What about RAVE 1 Visualizations?
RAVE 1 visualizations are fully supported in R5. As with previous releases, you need to ensure you have the correct RAVER 1 bundle installed. if you do not have the correct RAVE 1 visualization installed the report will fail to execute.

Which RAVE 1 charts you see depends on your installation. If I do a brand new install of CA server without the samples, there will be no RAVE 1 charts in the system and when I select “Legacy Visualizations”, I will get the message:

Some RAVE 1 bundles are deployed with the samples. If you install the CA R5 samples and deploy IBM_Cognos_Samples, you will see alarge number of RAVE 1 visualizations.

The Analytics Zone bundles are available here:
All Visualization Zip File
All Viusualization Deployment

2.5 The RAVE 2 Visualizations are not in the Library? Where are they?
The RAVE 2 visualizations are distributed and installed with Cognos Analytics. The RAVE 1 process of downloading and deploying visualizations and deploying them does not apply to RAVE 2.

2.6 Can RAVE1, RAVE2 and Cognos 10 Charts be Used Together?
Yes, a single report can use RAVE 1, RAVE 2 and Cognos 10 charts side by side.

2.7 Can I integrate Custom D3 Charts into R5?
We intend to deliver an SDK in 2017 to allow D3 visualizations to be integrated. D3 visualizations are application written in JavaScript and require the skills of a professional web developer.