SES 97: How Maps Have Become Easy with SAPUI5?

With the advent of SAP UI5, Maps and 3D Visualizations have become easy. For someone who’s worked in the SAP industry and has experience in SAP, they would know and understand, when we talk to customers, we usually see that spatial applications fall into two distinct groups – spatially driven and spatially enabled.

So, today I’ll explain in detail about maps and geospatial visualization and how you can connect your application with user interactions with the help of visualization. If you want to know how you can connect your business data to a 3D model and use it as an alternative visualization for business data, then keep reading.

Let’s begin from the spatially-driven applications. They usually take what we call “business data” that has geographic attributes and perform complex spatial analysis of the data before presenting the result to the user.

In the context of spatially-enabled applications, a geographic attribute of a business data refers to a series of geographic coordinates representing like a driving route or a particular location, or a sales area or a statistical radius that are simply overlaid on a familiar backdrop or in a 3D map. Therefore, in spatially-enabled applications, it is usually possible to filter your data geographically, for example to remove data points that are more than 50 km from a specific location or something.

But more often, the application simply takes whatever data is sitting there in a database or wherever you have it, and uses it to enhance users’ understanding of the related business data. So you don’t need a complex analysis or a GIS (geographic information system) or anything like that to produce a meaningful visualization.

Let’s understand further with another example. For example, consider a logistics application that takes the location of courier vans and pickup requests and uses route-finding logic and courier cost data and that kind of stuff and customer data in order to determine which courier can handle which packages in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. It has to use spatial data in the form of van locations and parcel locations, and road routes and traffic conditions. And from the efficiency point of view, it also has to determine special algorithms for route finding and the option that represents the most profit, basically, for the logistics company, and the lowest cost or best service to the consumer.

So the complex spatial analysis is usually performed by a GIS or HANA Spatial, or something like that, with the result used to filter the business data in another repository. So database systems such as HANA Spatial are capable of performing the entire analysis without using a separate GIS, whereas spatially driven applications like this are undeniably powerful but are often expensive to implement because, other than needing GIS capabilities, they also require a sound understanding of the significance.

Spatial enablement, is significantly cheaper and simpler to implement since it uses geographic data that is already available, and little or no GIS capabilities. Thus, visualizations often reveal valuable insights for decision-makers. Let’s dig deeper by taking another example.

Suppose, you’re planning to travel intercity by train and the train leaves in 20 minutes, you live at a 15-minutes walk distance from the station. You’re feeling lazy, so you bring up a taxi app on your phone. And the first thing you see is all the vehicles in your area. So there’s not really any spatial analysis of this initial view. The taxi company may simply show you where all their taxis are, but there aren’t any taxis nearby – that’s obvious from the visualization, no complexity in that. So then you decide to the train instead. The SAPUI5 maps can easily produce the taxi company-style visualization.

No matter what example you take, the problem doesn’t require your application to use complex geospatial analysis or a costly geographic information system in order to make a reasonable suggestion to the user. Determining how long will the taxi take to get you from point A to point B, is one generic route-finding process or function, that any number of third-party geo-services will provide you with this capability outsourced. You simply display the resulting route and ETA on your map!

Just like mapping, good visualization that leverages 3D, is simply a matter of revealing obscure or subtle numerical business data in a form that the user can relate to. If you take the sensor data from a modern car, to analyze it in tabular form in a spreadsheet while you’re driving, is simply not an option. However, if you’re shown a picture of your car with the engine temperature data displayed as a pulsing red visualization of the engine, you do not only grasp the significance of that data point, or that row in the spreadsheet immediately, but you’ll probably take immediate action to prevent potential damage to your vehicle.

It is likely that the vehicle will actually decide what action to take for you. At the very least, the car needs to help you to understand that it is about to do something unexpected. At the most, it might need to convince you that you need to take some specific kind of action to help, for example display a visualization such as arrows indicating that it is safe and important for you to move into the slow lane or something, so that it can reduce the engine speed.

Although autonomous vehicles are already able to do these things by themselves. The bottom line is that good visualization builds trust in the decisions that are being made for you, essentially. Often, these are based on many more data points and factors than you could handle yourself. And the 3D capabilities available to you in SAPUI5 are broad and powerful.

Solely for the purpose of learning and understanding Mapping and 3D Visualization, this might be enough in the most basic fundamental manner, but there’s a lot more you can explore and do with this technology!

I hope you’ll find this blog helpful if you’re interested in learning about SAP UI5 and 3D Imaging and Maps have become easy with it. If you haven’t already subscribed to the blog yet, I’d request you to do so, as we publish great content on SAP, Online Marketing, Passive Income and Business – twice a week! So, make sure you never miss an update from us.

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