January 11, 2006 -- People viewing maps online can now call up, interrogate, explore and analyse the information they contain interactively in real time, thanks to a new capability built into the latest version of GeoConcept Internet Server, the powerful geographic information system from MapMechanics.
This new capability has been made possible by the introduction of an On Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) capability in GeoConcept. This “G-OLAP” technology allows people using Web browsers to drill down into the data behind online mapping on a live basis, viewing and analysing the information in whatever way suits them – both textually and in the form of annotated maps.
The feature is seen as ideal both for Internet mapping, where uses might range over consumer, business and public sector applications, and where mapping is deployed within an organisation over an intranet, and users may need to interrogate data in a wide variety of different ways.
As an example, a user might be viewing a map of Great Britain that shows economic activity symbolically by region. If the user clicks to zoom in on a region, GeoConcept will automatically extract the relevant thematic data for that region from the underlying database, and generate new symbols to display it intelligently on the maps (for instance, by means of charts, graphs or coloured geographical areas on the zoomed-in map itself).
Chris Greenwood, MapMechanics’ commercial director, explains: “Users viewing maps that are produced by GeoConcept Internet Server have been able to pan around and zoom in and out of them for a long time now, and see related data superimposed on them. But traditionally, the analysis would be performed in advance, and in effect, users would be calling up predetermined content.
“G-OLAP gives end users unprecedented power to make their own selections in real time, and call up maps that deliver current data on a live basis. They are presented with uniquely created maps meeting the needs of each enquiry.”
Moreover, he adds, if the underlying database is updated, the information shown on the maps is amended accordingly to reflect the current information. There is no need for the host to generate a set of new maps every time the related data changes.
Typically, the information would be delivered not just as annotations on a map, but also in textual form, with the two views displayed on screen side by side. Users can click either textual items or locations on a map, and drill down into the data from either starting point.
Chris Greenwood comments: “With the emergence of fast Internet connections and the growth in demand for real-time tracking, users increasingly expect to have a live online view of data. This development translates that expectation into a mapping context.”
About MapMechanicsMapMechanics uses digital map-based technologies to offer an extensive range of Web, desktop, paper and component solutions for a variety of business applications, from atlas production to business analysis, site selection, customer profiling and vehicle routing and scheduling.
MapMechanics supplies and supports MicroAnalytics’ TruckStops in Britain. TruckStops is the world’s most widely-deployed routing and scheduling solution, and is in use in North and South America, Britain, continental Europe and elsewhere.
MapMechanics is also the UK distributor of the GeoConcept geographic information system, which is widely used in a diverse range of fields including retail planning, marketing, healthcare, environmental planning and management, policing, broadcasting, asset tracking, transport and logistics, as well as in central and local government.
MapMechanics distributes a wide range of data products including AA, NAVTEQ and Ordnance Survey digital mapping, as well as leading business and demographic datasets from many sources throughout the world. This data is listed in the MapMechanics Data Catalogue, which is probably the most extensive and up-to-date printed listing of its kind in Britain. It is published twice yearly, and is also available on the Internet.
Backing up its extensive product range, MapMechanics offers a comprehensive service of implementation support and training.
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