Google Maps and Dashboards with Xcelsius / SAP Crystal Dashboard Design

Since I started building business intelligence dashboards with Xcelsius in 2003, maps have always been a weakness. Until the last year, customers who develop dashboards with Xcelsius had few choices when it came to visualizing geographic data.

In the last few years, my team and I have narrowed Centigon Solution’s strategic focus from business intelligence dashboards to geo-visualization for BI, and the process have changed the way we think about maps for Xcelsius with GMaps Plugin. Customers now have a single tool capable of rendering data points (places, people, locations) and regions (thematic maps, routes, shapes) together within a single interface. This is only a single step forward to meet any requirement for BI dashboards. My goal is to empower anyone in an organization to construct interactive maps. We are very close to having the ultimate mapping design tool for business users capable of addressing most complex business requirements with point and click ease.

Our approach to software design is very simple… Start with the business user mind and work our way backwards toward integration. This was a mantra that quickly propelled Xcelsius as a leading dashboard development tool. When business users think about maps, Google/Bing/Yahoo/Mapquest maps are at the top of the list. Google was my first and only choice for approaching a business focused maps application. Google has extremely powerful maps API, infrastructure and SLAs to ensure scalability for unlimited users, and have an enterprise focus to ensure we can meet the rigid security requirements customers have. Furthermore Google maintains their own Maps Flash API where Microsoft uses a third party for Bing Maps, which is an extra layer of abstraction that we did not want to fight with.

In speaking with many dashboard developers and business stakeholders, few maps requirements are the same, though we have figured out commonalities, allowing us to expand and improve GMaps Plugin methodically. Next month, Centigon Solutions will release GMaps Plugin 2.1 for Xcelsius which is a huge leap forward both in performance and map design flexibility. 2.1 is also important for another reason, allowing GMaps Plugin to live outside of Xcelsius which I will share for the first time at the BusinessObjects user conference at a session entitled “Xcelsius+GMaps+15 min.- Coding=Must See!

I will start posting sneak peeks as we on-board our GMaps Plugin power users for beta testing next week. If you are interested in becoming one of our beta users, let me know.

For more information about GMaps Plugin 2.0, visit

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