Ambiguous data

Ambiguous data in your data set can lead to misleading, inaccurate, or incomplete maps in your dashboard or report. If you don't see a map as a recommended starting point for your data, look at your location column to see whether it contains ambiguous data.

Here are some tips for preventing, locating, and correcting ambiguous data:

  • Important: Qualify a region with its next level parent. For example, quality city with state or province. Qualify state or province with country.
  • If the column heading for the location column is misleading, such as a location column called Employee Name, it cannot be used for mapping your data.
  • Look at the values in your data. Misspellings cause problems.
  • Check for and resolve ambiguous locations in your data file and then replace the data in the data set. For example, Georgia is the name of a country and the name of a state in the United States.
    • If Georgia appears in a column that contains American states, a map of the United States is displayed.
    • If Georgia appears in a column that contains countries, a world map or a map of Asia is displayed, depending on the other values in the column.
    • If Georgia is in a column that contains both states and countries, no map is displayed. To avoid this problem, split the column into two, one for countries and one for states. Make sure that the state appears as US Georgia.
  • Unmatched values occur when the location on your data cannot be matched by name to a supported admin boundary or postal code. For admin boundaries, if the location is under a different name, you must correct your data.
    • Cognos Analytics does not support U.S. of America, but it does support USA. Create a calculation to change the unsupported value to a supported one.
    • Lakes or other bodies of water are not supported locations.
  • For postal codes, you must understand the postal code system for the country that is mapped. You must include both the country and the postal code data items. If Cognos Analytics cannot map the data, there are several possible causes.
    • You are trying to map a full or extended postal code. In Canada, the first 3 characters of the postal code are supported (forward sortation area).
    • For the United States of America, the 5-digit postal code is supported, not the extended postal code.
    • Many countries use a 5-digit postal code so your data must include the country.
    • Countries are constantly updating their postal codes. Cognos Analytics updates the list of supported postal codes once a year.

A map is not displayed in the following cases:

  • The data contains both countries and provinces, countries and states, or regions and parts of a region. For example, US, Texas, Florida; UK, Scotland, England; Europe, France, Germany; Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward, Sarasota.
  • The data contains abbreviations that can be both countries or states. For example, AL, AR, CA, DE can be Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Albania, Argentina, Canada, or Germany.