Endeca Latitude Google Maps (with Heat Mapping!)
Introducing Ranzal's SmartMap...
Following Oracle's acquisition of Endeca Technologies earlier this year, a number of modifications were made to the Discovery Framework/Latitude Studio product to align with Oracle's corporate vision. Unfortunately, one of those changes was to pull Google's "Maps" technology out of the product and replace it with an alternative Oracle home-grown mapping technology.
For people like us who love the Google Maps experience and the functionality it offers, this was a setback. Regardless of your position on whose maps provide a better experience, there were some key pieces of functionality left out during the transition. One of those was the ability to show "heatmaps" in your application as an indicator of intensity or density in your visualization, something Endeca customers have seen in the past and are currently using.
With some hard work over the past few weeks Ranzal, leveraging the Oracle Endeca Information Discovery SDK, has developed SmartMap to bring this functionality back to the Endeca Agile BI community. As you can see below, we've built a visualization that gives the same user experience as the current product version (results lists, highlighting, etc.) but with the added flexibility of Google Maps and heat mapping:
The visualization at the top of this post was built using a dataset from the City of Chicago's Department of Public Health containing a list of Safety Inspections of restaurants and schools dating back to January 2010. Using Endeca's Guided Navigation technology, as a user, I can navigate down to show "only Schools":
I can pinch and refine my map to a certain area:
And I can get details on the type of issues that were encountered during the Health Inspection:
As you can see the SmartMap gives you a boatload of options when presenting data to your users and provides yet another facet to use when exploring your application. This is a simple example but we could easily have leveraged unstructured search over the Inspection Comments, range filtering by Inspection Score and any of the great functionality that Oracle Endeca provides.
We're working on adding even more to the SmartMap such as exact address search (show me everything 3 miles from an exact address), heat maps over routes (not just places) and a few other bells and whistles.
Update: And on the subject of adding functionality to the map, we went ahead and enabled StreetView to give you another angle on what your data's telling you: