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One of the powers of using geospatial software is that large volumes of data which do not make much sense in tabular form can deliver unique insights when plotted on a map. Which large volumes of SAP data could be plotted on a map? What are your ideas?  Very timely for Election Day here is an example which I saw now already a year and a half ago at Where 2.0 in San Francisco, and it is from the last presidential election… but still as valid as ever.  This series of maps and other screenshots shows a visualization of campaign contribution data from the U.S. For non-U.S. citizens it may seem that campaign contributions are a very private matter, but here it is indeed public data!   Firstly there is an U.S. overview map. You see campaign contributions (looks like by three-digit ZIP code). The larger metropolitan areas have been broken down by party in a pie chart.  image Zoom to San Francisco, a largely democratic city. Why are there these big red spots on the top right? The largest circle is the headquarter of Goldmann-Sachs, an investment firm. Employees there (or the company) used the company address to make their contribution. You also see the horizontal strip of republican contributions near the water, which are more affluent areas.  imageimage The last two screens show data “around me” at an address in S.F.: who do my neighbors give money too? And then there was the joke to make this app available on a GPS-enabled handheld device… and if you are in S.F. you could check what kind of neighborhood you are in, and say if you are a republican in a strong democratic neighborhood, seek the fastest path out of there to “friendly” territory. imageimage The source for this is at
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  1. Former Member
    SDN forums are a good place to mine some data and present a nice view of geography based distribution of contribution. Find out regions that has highest points in total, points to number of posts ratio, points to number of regsitered users for that region , points against topic against region, points against time of day against region, well I guess it is only limited by ones imagination
        1. Oliver Mainka Post author
          Ah, Eddy, the SDN Map co-author himself, I am honored! Sure, let me see what the BI Accelerator people think of the idea… Best, Oliver
  2. Former Member
    Another interesting idea (again by Eyebeam R&D) is ForwardTrack:

    This system tracks and maps the diffusion of email forwards, political calls-to-action, and online petitions. It can trace email forwards, map the impact of blogs, and facilitate web-based sign-ups and social networking. It helps people to understand decentralized networks and see the power of “6 degrees of separation.”

    Cheers, Davide

  3. David Halitsky
    1) States could be applications.

    2) Counties could be transactions.

    3) Cities could be screens

    4) Boroughs could be toolbars.

    5) Neighborhoods could be toolbar option buttons.

    6) And hey: in the brave new ES(O)A world, cross-app services could even be roads and railroads and rivers and airline routes (linking previously disparate “geographic entities”)

    Then at any level from (1-5), a right-click instead of a left drill-down click would bring up those wonderful structures that hide SAP’s inner workings.

    Then a drill-down click would bring up the fields in the selected structure.

    And one more drill-down click would bring up (shh! Oracle may be watching …) the table/col that feeds the field in the structure. 

    And then, once the screen displays the table/col, a gun would come out of the monitor and shoot you in the head (following the old time-honored motto of the CIA, NSA, M-5, the KGB and all other 3-byte agencies – “If I tell you, I’ll have to shoot you afterwards”.)

    Nah – never mind.  It’s way too logical an idea to implement.

    Plus, it would ruin all the fun of trying to guess which prospective analyst of the three you’ve just interviewed knows anything at all about the tables underlying the structures.

    And of course, it would cut down the billable hours of systems implementors/integrators.


    Anyway – sorry for the rant.  You’ve displayed some very elegant and impressive work here.


      1. David Halitsky
        … because I was really serious. 

        It’s amazing how much time, energy and money SAP spends on developing tools capable of accomplishing serious and important objectives, only to see these tools used for what I charitably call “bells and whistles”.

        SAP is a huge “country” and unless the poor developer has a very experienced analyst who knows internal SAP metadata as well as functionality, he or she would benefit greatly from a GIS system that tells him where things are located AND how to get from point A to point B.

        As I have said repeatedly in this blogspace, acquisition of such a GIS system for SAP metadata is even more critical as SAP and its customers enter the era of ES(O)A.

        Thanks again for displaying some great and innovative work here at SDN.



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