Following comments on twitter from Jamie Oswald @oswaldxxl about the effort it took for him to display POI related information in maps using SAP BusinessObjects Explorer I thought I share a few easy steps to get it working and a sample data file.
What is a POI?
According to Wikipedia a point of interest, or POI, is a specific point location that someone may find useful or interesting. An example is a point on the Earth representing the location of the Space Needle.
A GPS point of interest specifies, at minimum, the latitude and longitude of the POI, assuming a certain map datum. A name or description for the POI is usually included, and other information such as altitude or a telephone number may also be attached. GPS applications typically use icons to represent different categories of POI on a map graphically.
Is that Clear ? Basically a POI in the context of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer is a specific point on the Globe defined by its latitude and longitude coordinates, so it can be a Building, road junction, fast food outlet ….. anything.
What can Explorer display?
- POI style data visualisations are supported both on-premise deployment and on demand.
- The points of interest (POI) will be grouped according to the current zoom level of the map and if users zoom into the map they will see those data points change in display from a Numeric identifier to a pertinent image.
- Users can switch between 3 main views:
1. Augmented View (Initial landing page)
- On the settings of the app it is possible to select the number of the nearest POIs to be shown by default.
2. Map View
3. Camera View
NOTE ** The camera view is currently only available on the iPad2 as it has an inbuilt camera.
- It is also possible to navigate to the standard exploration view where they can analyze further information about these points of interest from any of the views mentioned above.
For the augmented view of the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer to load, it is essential that one of the columns of the data-set uploaded to Explorer is formatted as a point of interest
A point of interest (POI) is a structure containing the following information:
- POI name (mandatory)
- POI location (mandatory)
- POI image
- POI associated link
The order and format of the POI column is mandatory with each element of the POI being separated by the string “||”.
NAME|| LATITUDE;LONGITUDE|| IMAGE_URL|| LINK_URL
SAP Buenos Aires||-34.60;-58.37||http://sapweb20.com/blog/augreality/icon_red_footprint.png#1
The image files that the POI string refers to need to be hosted on a Web Server that is open enough for the Explorer app to access. This can be either inside the corporate firewall or public facing whichever is appropriate.
Timo Elliott currently has a small sample set of images hosted on his blog site, which I have used for this blog content. I would ask you do not bring his site down by all using these images but host your own appropriately.
An easy way to host the JPG files inside the corporate firewall is to deploy them in the Web Server used by the BusinessObjects Platform. I have easily achieved this by Zipping up a folder called IMAGES containing .jpg files and simply changing the file name from images.zip to images.war and manually drag and dropping the WAR into the tomcat directory. In a default install this can be found at C:\Program Files (x86)\SAP BusinessObjects\Tomcat6
Sample Excel data file
I have attached a sample excel file originating from SAP for demonstrating the concept and a simple search and replace can easily make the data more pertinent to your business and don’t forget to repoint the images to your own examples.