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Cognos Analytics - MapBox Usage Notes

When Maps are rendered in Cognos Analytics they usilize  MapBox technology, which is cloud-hosted. Frequently asked questions 1- How does CA communicate with MapBox? 2- All communication with MapBox is done over HTTP Secure (HTTPS) on the standard port (443). In instances where MapBox provides RESTful endpoints as a return from a request, these are also HTTPS endpoints. Endpoints within MapBox that are accessed: https://api.mapbox.com https://*.tiles.mapbox.com   What communicates with MapBox? Each client machine where CA is running will need access to the MapBox endpoints. The map rendering is undertaken in code which runs on each user's browser. What Data is exchanged with MapBox? All data value matching occurs within the client session using client-side code : no data values are sent to MapBox. No column names are sent to MapBox. For the Custom Regions and Custom Points feature we gather 3 properties for use in map generation. The MapBox "Map ID" is passed within HTTPS calls to MapBox to retrieve map information. The "Layer name" and "Property name" properties are only used locally within the client code.    

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New Base Samples for IBM #Cognos Analytics 11.0.12

There are two types of samples that have been created exclusively for IBM Cognos Analytics. The Extended Samples require the use of a database and database connections to host the sample Great Outdoors data. They must be installed and configured. Here are the instructions for installing the Extended samples. We have also created a set of Base Samples in a deployment that can be easily imported in one step. These samples exclusively use Data Modules as their underlying data sources (no cubes, databases, or packages). Here is a video that explains how to find and import the Samples_for_Install_11_0_12.zip deployment file. After you import the deployment, you will see the following new Base Samples: Team content > Samples > Dashboards Storm events This sample dashboard showcases the new custom polygon mapping functionality in the context of storm event data. You can read the full details in this Blog post. Related posts: Mapbox hosted custom polygons in reports and dashboards IBM Knowledge Center: Setting up Mapbox to work with IBM Cognos Analytics IBM Knowledge Center: Using custom point or region information from Mapbox in a map vizualization in a dashboard IBM Knowledge Center: Using custom point or region information from Mapbox in a map visualization in a report Samples landing page Guide to IBM Cognos Analytics sample data sets Library of How-To Videos for IBM Cognos Analytics Please visit our IBM Business Analytics Support channel on YouTube.

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Mapbox hosted custom polygons in reports and dashboards

With Cognos Analytics 11.0.11 users will be able to visualize custom polygons hosted on Mapbox within reports and dashboards! Here’s how you can start visualizing your custom geospatial polygons in Cognos! You can refer to the instructions below or watch the video that shows you how to add custom polygons. If you don’t have a MapBox studio account already the first step would be to create one (each organization/department can host all their polygons on one account). For many of our users the free account with 5GB of storage space should be more than sufficient to host all their polygons. Then upload your geoJSON custom polygon file to Mapbox as a tileset. Custom polygons in different formats such as .shp and .KML can be easily converted to geoJSON using several open-source software (QGIS is recommended). A tile-set is essentially a compiled set of geoJSON optimized to render fast on a browser. If your geoJSON is under 5MB, you will also be able to edit the geoJSON directly in Mapbox-datasets through an intuitive UI. Once edited it can be exported into a tileset. Each polygon will need to have at least one uniquely identifying property (we recommend that this be an abstract identifier) Ensure the tileset is made Public (Tilesets are public by default) Once you have you tileset created in Mapbox you will need 3 keys from the tileset page. 1 – MapID, 2 – Layername, 3 – Property Name (unique identifier)   Mapbox tileset In the Cognos Map visualization expand the properties pane and enter the 3 keys from the step above. This workflow is identical in both Cognos reporting and dashboards. Then simply drag your Property name (unique identifier) into the locations slot and a measure (s) under the location colour/Point colour/point size slot. That’s it!     Note – if your custom polygons are points then enter the 3 keys in the points layer instead. Best practices Do not add any confidential or sensitive information as a polygon property. Although, not common, if your existing geoJSON has sensitive information in its properties, we recommend that you remove them before uploading your polygons to Mapbox. Best practice would be to make the geoJSON property an abstract identifier. Share the 3 keys to your Mapbox tiles on a need-to-know basis. For better performance and to guarantee polygons appearing at zoom level 0 (world view) it is recommended to compress larger geoJSON files to less than 10MB. http://mapshaper.org/ is a fantastic free tool to do this. a. geoJSON larger than 10MB will be set default zoom extents that may not begin at worldview – level 0 (this is a mapbox optimization technique). However, if you want to manually change the zoom extents there are few ways to do so. i. Tippecanoe APIs (Linux, MacOS) ii. Download Mapbox studio classic on your desktop (windows) and change min/max zoom levels iii. Mapbox documentation here: https://www.mapbox.com/help/adjust-tileset-zoom-extent/ To ensure that autozoom works in Cognos reporting we recommend setting the unique polygon identifier as a string value. For those working with custom polygons in small areas (postcode level) we recommend turning off auto zoom after the initial map render. This will result in a better experience when filtering as the map will not have to reset zoom and pan in multiple times. Related posts: New Base Samples for IBM Cognos Analytics 11.0.11 IBM Knowledge Center: Setting up Mapbox to work with IBM Cognos Analytics IBM Knowledge Center: Using custom point or region information from Mapbox in a map vizualization in a dashboard IBM Knowledge Center: Using custom point or region information from Mapbox in a map visualization in a report Please visit our IBM Business Analytics Support channel on YouTube.

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Updated Map Support Files

We have updated the spreadsheet files which contains the of admin boundaries types and the complete list polygon with names and aliases for the Cognos Analytics R9 release. Open the Box folder: https://ibm.box.com/s/9b7hl7hf55lybnhq5yhigxtoobijymev The file IBM CA 11 R9 Named Administrative Boundaries.xls list the type of admin boundaries by country. This file is the same as the old R6 file of similar name. The file IBM CA 11 R9 Named Administrative Boundaries.xls contains a complete list of the 200,00 plus polygons we support along with path and alias information which is useful to solve mapping name binding issues.

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New French Regions in Cognos Analytics 11.0.9

Recently, the French parliament passed a law reducing the number of metropolitan regions.  Cognos Analytics R9 has added the new region polygons. New and Unchanged Regions These new region polygons have been added: • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes • Bourgogne-Franche-Comté • Bretagne • Centre-Val de Loire • Corse • Grand-Est • Hauts-de-France • Normandie • Nouvelle-Aquitaine • Occitanie Regions unaffected by the re-organization are unchanged: • Brittany • Centre-Val de Loire • Île-de-France • Pays de la Loire • Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Old Regions Removed The old region polygons have been deleted and the names added as aliases to the new regions: • Alsace • Aquitaine • Auvergne • Basse-Normandie • Bretagne • Champagne-Ardenne • Franche-Comté • Haute-Normandie • Languedoc-Roussillon • Limousin • Lorraine • Midi-Pyrénées • Nord-Pas-de-Calais • Picardie • Poitou-Charentes • Rhône-Alpes Aliases A large set of alias names has been provided as well. Open the Box folder: https://ibm.box.com/s/9b7hl7hf55lybnhq5yhigxtoobijymev The file IBM CA 11 R9 Named Administrative Boundaries.xls contains a complete list of the 200,00 plus polygons we support along with path and alias information which is useful to solve mapping name binding issues. For example, if look at the row for Bourgogne-Franche-Comté: Country Code Name Path Aliases FR Bourgogne-Franche-Comté FR Bourgogne # Franche-Comté # Franche Comté # Bourgogne Franche Comté # Burgundy # Bourgogne-Franche Comté # Bourgogne Franche-Comté This means you can use any of the names listed to refer to this new region: • Bourgogne-Franche-Comté • Bourgogne • Franche-Comté • Franche Comté • Bourgogne Franche Comté • Burgundy • Bourgogne-Franche Comté • Bourgogne Franche-Comté Note: that there is no functional difference between using the name or an alias. Conclusion As with all out of the box polygons, these regions can be used as region or point layers in both dashboard and report maps.

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Refining Map Locations in #Cognos Analytics

There is a subtle yet critical difference in refining data items. Let’s imagine you are mapping post codes which always[1] need country as the refining data item. Perhaps my data looks like this: Country is in effect a parent item to Postal Code. In a dashboard map, I would specify the parent data item first: In a report map, the child item comes first: If I had more complex data, perhaps I wish to map US counties, I might have data such as: In this case, I might have two refining data items Country and State. In a dashboard, I would specify: I think most people would agree this is an intuitive order of grand parent, parent, child. In a report: This order is not all that intuitive child, grand parent, parent. In a future release, we will make report map data slots work the same as dashboards but in the mean time, be aware of the issue. [1] Always means there is never an exception….. really.

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#Cognos Analytics 11.0.8: Adding Latitude/Longitude Maps in Reports

Cognos Analytics Release 8 adds support for Latitude/Longitude based maps in reports allowing geocoded data to be displayed on the maps shown in reports as seen below: In our example, businesses in Hawaii are shown as points located by latitude and longitude with revenue driving the size, and Profit driving the color of the points. As with the Regions and Points layers, the Latitude/Longitude layer is available on the layer selector:   The Latitude/Longitude layer requires two data numeric data items for the latitude and longitude: The label field is used to provide a meaningful tooltip for the points. That’s because, generally speaking users will know the name of the store “ABC Retail,” but not necessarily the latitude and longitude of the store. For this reason, the label, but not the latitude/longitude location is displayed in the tooltip:   Much like the Points layer, Size and Color require a measure data item to style the circular points displayed at each unique latitude/longitude location. Of course, you can define all three layer types, or any combination thereof, at the same time. In fact, in our example, there is a region layer on “State,” which resulted in the green color used to style Hawaii. Latitude/Longitude Encoding While there are several ways to store latitude/longitude , Cognos Analytics requires using a WGS 84 / World Geodetic System (WGS) encoding stored as numeric data items. WGS 84 simply means latitudes between -90 and +90 degrees, and longitudes between -180 and +180 degrees suitable for use on a Web Mercator map. An example would be the White House in Washington DC located at latitude 38.897957, and longitude -77.036560. Other formats such as degrees, minutes, second and decimal seconds for example 38° 53' 52.6452'' N, 77° 2' 11.6160'' W are not supported, nor are other X, Y coordinates systems. In such cases, the data would need to be converted to WGS 84 for use in Cognos Analytics. Errors and Null Island As part of our error checking, we determine if the latitude values in the data fall between -90 and +90 and longitudes between -180 and +180. Any values outside of these ranges cannot be mapped as they fall outside of the coordinate system. Rather than not mapping that data, we replace the query values with latitude 0 and longitude 0 which allows those data points to map so you can detect the error. For instance, the 0, 0 location is found just off the coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea as shown below: As there is no actual land mass there, this location is somewhat humorously referred to as “Null Island,” and is commonly used by mapping systems to display out of bounds data. If you ever see data mapped here, it’s probably in error. The likeliest cause of such an error is putting the latitude and longitude data items into the opposite data slots when defining the map. Geocoding As odd as it sounds, mapping systems, generally speaking, cannot use addresses for locations. Rather, the mapping systems need to have the address converted to an latitude/longitude which can be mapped. The process of converting an address to a latitude/longitude location is referred to as “geocoding.” Companies provide geocoding as a paid service. For example, the address of the White House “1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500” would be passed to a geocode service which would return the latitude 38.897957, and longitude -77.036560. These values are then stored into the RDBMS for use with Cognos Analytics. Although, it is important to note that Cognos Analytics does not provide geocoding; your data must be geocoded before being used within Cognos Analytics. Conclusion Latitude/longitude support extends the report map support nicely and give us a further foundation to build on.

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Install and Configure EM4C for #Cognos Analytics

This document is provided as is to enable Esri Maps for Cognos (EM4C) in Cognos Analytics non-interactive reports. While the steps contained here-in have been tested to the best of our abilities, they are not warranted, guaranteed nor supported. EM4C is Esri’s product and as per the following link, EM4C does not support Cognos Analytics: http://support.esri.com/Products/Apps/plug-in-apps/esri-maps-for-ibm-cognos/6-1-1#product-support This document includes a list of known issues. There may be other issues we have not discovered. As neither these steps nor EM4C are supported, these limitations will not be addressed. It is hoped these steps will prove useful for transitioning from Cognos 10 to Cognos Analytics 11. PDF outling steps:  EM4C on CA11 Note: Integeo provide an HTML/JavaScript plug-in to Cognos BI reports that integrates with Esri server/infrastructure and which is supported, affordable and performant.

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VIDEO: How to use Maps in #Cognos Analytics Dashboards (11.0.6)

This blog and video is a step by step guide on how to use Maps in Cognos Analytics Dashboards Video In the video we will show you: How to Model your data so the data is recognised as Geospatial. How to use some of the key map features. How to use the ‘Refine Regions’ data slot. Environment Cognos Analytics 11.0.6 with Interim Fix 1 (This contains important updates to the mapping components) The attached data file was used for the following examples: Map Data How to model your data so it is recognized as Geospatial Step 1 - Upload the file Save the attached data file  map_data.xls locally. Open Cognos Analytics and go to ‘Upload Files’ and upload the file to your Cognos Analytics Server. Step 2 - Create a Data Module from the uploaded file Click on ‘New’ then ‘Data Module’. Click ‘Uploaded Files’ and search for your uploaded file. Click ‘start’ then drag the file to the new module. Expand the uploaded file and click on the ellipsis next to ‘County’ and then select ‘ In the ‘Represents’ drop-down box select ‘Geographic Location’ and then select ‘County’. Optional Step: In the video example I limit the data to California in my data module. To do this Click the ellipsis next to ‘State’ and select ‘filter’.  Click the checkbox next to ‘California’ and click ‘Apply ‘.  Alternatively, you can use the entire file but please note this will be truncated to 3,000 rows which is the current data limit for maps Save the data module. How to use the Refine Regions data slot Using the Data Module from the previous steps, drag ‘County’ to ‘Regions’ and ‘Measure’ to ‘Region Color’. You will see an ‘Ambiguous regions’ data warning in the top right of the widget. This means the listed counties will not be mapped. E.g. Holmes County is in both Mississippi and Florida so the widget will need more information to map successfully. To resolve the ambiguity, drag ‘State’ to the ‘Refine Regions’ data slot and this will allow the Widget to determine exactly which County needs to be mapped. (Please note - when adding a refinement region always try to add the applicable next level parent.) This will produce the following Map:   Please visit the IBM Cognos Analytics channel on YouTube.

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Cognos Analytics Mapping enhancements in 11.0.6

Multiple admin boundary and postal code support with the integration of Pitney Bowes Polygons Cognos Analytics 11.0.5 saw the introduction of our integration with MapBox that provided highly scalable vector maps with street-level detail. With 11.0.6, we have integrated Pitney Bowes polygons that enables users to visualize their geospatial data across multiple admin boundaries and postal codes. Users can now visualize data across multiple geospatial hierarchies from Countries, states, cities down to municipalities, precincts and cantons, etc. To disambiguate regions (cities, counties etc.) with similar place names 11.0.6 maps introduced an additional ‘Refine Regions’ data slot. When adding a refinement region users must always try to add the applicable next level parent: For example, the refinement for City should be State/Province. Using a Country refinement on City is not recommended. If the data being visualized is at a National level then a refinement region is not required. If we were unable to successfully resolve place names you will now see a yellow “!” sign at the top right of the map . Clicking on this sign will list any remaining ambiguous and unrecognized locations. It’s important to note that all ambiguous locations will still be mapped using inbuilt smarts to be consistent with the rest of your data. Unrecognized locations however, will not be mapped in 11.0.6. In a future release users will be able to resolve these ambiguities and unrecognized regions via an intuitive User Interface. 11.0.6 includes many additional map styles that will allow you to create compelling geospatial visualizations that will be consistent with your overall dashboard theme. These map styles could be accessed via the properties pane. For more details on the enhancements to mapping in Cognos Analytics release 11.0.6 refer to the following document. Stay tuned for more compelling capabilities and features in upcoming releases!