As of April 10, 2017 all Support related to Qlik GeoAnalytics (formerly Idevio) will be handled by the Qlik Support team. Read more here.
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Please upgrade to the latest Qlik GeoAnalytics (IdevioMaps) 5.7.5 when you upgrade to Qlik Sense 3.2. There were some compatibility issues in earlier versions of Qlik GeoAnalytics (IdevioMaps).
For more information about the latest release of IdevioMaps for Qlik Sense see https://bi.idevio.com/products/idevio-maps-for-qlik-sense/sensedownloads. You can also contact email@example.com if you have any questions.
Bolsters Qlik’s visual analytics platform by providing powerful map visualizations and location-based analytics for both Qlik Sense and QlikView.
Read more here.
Does the map projection matter?
No, not when you are zoomed in on a country or further in, then most decent projections will work.
Can you see the difference? To the left, a projection that is specifically tailored for the area and to the right Mercator. If you look carefully you can se a slight rotation between the two but nothing that disturbs the presentation.
I often hear that “We must present the data in our local projection so that it is displayed correctly”. This usually is a misunderstanding. It is difficult to see differences between decent projections at a local scale. What matters is that the data presented on the map ends up at the correct location, which it does if the data is reprojected properly.
The problem comes when you zoom out. Since the Earth is round it can not generally be viewed in a nice way on a flat screen. What makes a good projection? Traditionally cartographers talk about the parameters shape, distance, direction, scale and area. All can not be correct for a projection but different projection often focus on getting one or two correct at the expense of the others. When zoomed in, most parameters are OK for most projections. However, a good projection can also be classified as giving the viewer the right impression of the area.
Lets look at some common projections.
Mercator is the completely dominant projection for web maps. Advantages are that it shows the entire earth and angles are correct in each point (shape). The big disadvantage is that areas near the poles are extremely exaggerated. Greenland looks like it is the same size as Africa when it actually is just one fourteenth of the area!
I think the globe projection, where you can dynamically rotate the earth, is one of the nicest. It gives a correct impression since the eye interprets it as a globe. However, the big disadvantage is that only half the world can be shown at a time and most of the visible half is shown at a “bad angle”.
The Equirectangular projection has same scale in all directions only at one latitude, in this case +-40 degrees. It somewhat compensates for the exaggerated size of Greenland. Probably you can live with the distortions when you are zoomed out (as discussed above, you have no choice, you just can chose which distortions) but when you zoom in on areas not close to latitude +-40 degrees you would expect the same scale in all directions. In this projection the map will look stretched.
Idevio have introduced an adaptive projection that have the properties of the Equirectangular projection when zoomed out but still looks correct when zoomed in. Since we are not dealing with static paper maps and that Idevio WebMap (IdevioMaps) uses vector data, it is possible to adapt the projection to the viewed area. It is a great improvement over the Mercator projection which gives a totally wrong impression of sizes. Also, at least as important for practical use, Greenland and north Canada does not take up half the screen when you display results on the map. It also keeps a constant scale when panning so that at a particular level the scale is not changed. It looks familiar with north always up (in contrast to for instance the globe projection). Except for the poles, Idevio Adaptive projection works in all scales and for all places on earth.
The Idevio Adaptive projection combines the good properties of the Equirectangular projection when looking at a global scale with minimal distortions when zoomed in.
Required update for Qlik Sense 3.1
Some highlights from the new versions are:
- Now supports Qlik Sense 3.1.
- Calculation conditions are added to IdevioMaps for Qlik Sense. This improves handling of large datasets.
- The layer control now can be minimized to a button.
- Geocoding is now available in the GeoAnalytics wizard with the operations AddressPointLookup (forward geocoding) and PointToAddressLookup (reverse geocoding). These operations require special licensing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
- Data in almost any geographic projection is now supported when loading data in GeoAnalytics.
Scalable pies, IP locations, ESRI connections, geodata simplification and much more
Some highlights from the new versions are:
- Most external geodata needs to be simplified before used. Idevio releases the new Simplify operation in GeoAnalytics. A unique combination of high quality simplification and ease of use. See more info about that in this blog entry. Also the Dissolve operation make use of the new simplification features.
- Have IP addresses in your data? Now you can easily plot it on a map using the new IPLookup operation in Idevio GeoAnalytics.
- IdevioMaps for Qlik Sense now supports scalable pie charts so that the size of the pie chart is controlled by an expression.
- Now you can easily connect to ESRI ArcGIS Server since GeoAnalytics has new support for the ESRI JSON format.
- Added support for the GML format makes it easy to connect to map data produced by WFS servers (OGIS standard).
- A change that already is available to all IdevioMaps users is that there is now “one world”. The map is not repeated even if there is room for it.
The Earth is big. It’s a challenge to build a map that can be viewed at world scale and zoomed all the way into street scale. The area viewed differs in these cases by more than one billion times. Obviously you can not display the same information in the entire scale range
There are at least two reasons that the data should be adapted to the scale. The first one is that you should try to keep the information density at a roughly constant level. Too much details clutter the display and makes the map hard to comprehend. Too few details gives room for improvement if you want to communicate more information. The other reason is performance. There is a limit to how much data can be presented until the map feels sluggish. Generally, points are rather cheap to display but polygons cost more.
I am in this blog not going to focus on the extremes but on how to make some data appropriate for a scale range that is a bit more narrow, a scale range that your data mostly will be used in. For scales outside of the range you think is appropriate for your data, you can turn that layer off and display other (aggregated or more detailed) data instead. Alternatively you can lock the display so that it can not be zoomed out or in outside your defined scale range.
Often the source data is too detailed and needs to be simplified. There are several kinds of simplifications (or generalizations), some examples are:
- Remove the least important objects
- Reduce the number of breakpoints in lines and polygons
- Simplify topology by dissolving areas and removing holes
- Change representation like simplifying an area to a point or many points to an area
What constitutes a good simplification? At the intended scale it should appear better than the original. When presenting too detailed data, borders seem frayed. A simplified map gives a more calm impression. So, higher resolution is not always better.
Note that images here might be resampled when presented, which unfortunately can hide some of the effects.
Another key feature of good simplification is that the data reduction should be as large as possible. Many simplification algorithms have problems simplifying data with a lot of details. The simplification used in Idevio GeoAnalytics can join together nearby areas and remove gaps where needed.
Several common tools handle area simplification quite bad. If simplification does not consider topology it introduces ugly gaps and overlaps between neighbor areas.
So far we have only discussed simplification of areas. Simplification of lines consist mostly of reducing the number of breakpoints. More advanced simplifications can also do things like collapse roundabouts and small road structures to a single point but that is a bit out of the scope for this blog. Point simplification consists mainly of selecting the most important ones and remove the others.
Another way to simplify data is to aggregate it. Aggregating areas together is done with the Dissolve operation. Dissolving might be appropriate when areas builds natural hierarchies, which sometimes is the case for postal areas. Cutting off the end of postal numbers to say 3 digits can give a nice aggregated level.
Points can be aggregated in existing areas like counties or to regular structures like rectangles or hexagons. The latter is called binning.
Good simplification is often difficult to use. There are a lot of parameters to adjust. In Idevio GeoAnalytics, it analyzes the data and sets appropriate parameters automatically so that you only need to decide if you want higher or lower resolution than the suggested one. Idevio GeoAnalytics is included in IdevioMaps and more information is available at https://bi.idevio.com/products/idevio-maps-for-qlik-sense.
IdevioMaps now includes Idevio GeoAnalytics, which brings geographic analysis to Qlik. Via a connector with a wizard you get easy access to advanced geographic analysis.
Typical things to use GeoAnalytics for is:
- Find out which postal areas your GPS positions are in
- Create custom sales areas based on smaller areas
- Find out which service location is closest to each customer and number of customers per service location
- Aggregate your point data in clusters or rectangular or hexagonal bins
GeoAnalytics is a toolbox of features that can be combined in numerous ways. Some features that previously were available via Idevio Load Library are now more conveniently available in the GeoAnalytics Wizard.
Download the new IdevioMaps 5.5 (available for both Qlik Sense and QlikView) to get access to GeoAnalytics. More information about GeoAnalytics is available here. More information on the new versions of IdevioMaps is available at https://bi.idevio.com/products/idevio-maps-for-qlik-sense and https://bi.idevio.com/products/idevio-maps-5-for-qlikview.
This is just the beginning, there is more to come…
By the way, we have recently added postal codes for Mexico, Canada, Australia and Spain to the location service.
Meet us at Qonnections in Orlando, May 1-4.
There is a problem with the current automatically updated Chrome version that makes map interaction slow. When panning, the map sometimes does not follow the cursor as smooth as it should or freezes.
The problem depends on hardware acceleration of graphics in Chrome and exists in some version 47.0.2526 but not in upcoming versions available in the developer channel. We expect the bug to go away with a coming automatic update but it is unclear when that version is pushed out.
This does not affect the desktop version of Qlik Sense.
Until the bug is fixed in Chrome, we recommend either turning off hardware acceleration in Chrome or using the Firefox browser instead.
Sportson is one of Sweden’s largest and fastest growing franchise chains providing high quality bikes, service and accessories. They wanted to expand in one of the major cities and wish to see the impact of different possible store locations in regards to new sales, existing stores, competitors and population. Using IdevioMaps Sportson constructed an app where all aspects could be explored dynamically. The app revealed how clients made their acquisitions as well as the reach and effectiveness of both own stores and competitors.
“With IdevioMaps and Qlik we have gained new insights in customer behavior and buying patterns, that has been extremely valuable for us in the expansion of our successful franchise enterprise” says Jonas Holtbo, Director of Franchise at Sportson.