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Community Project ZGEOCODE

During SAP Inside Track Bonn 2010 Renald Wittwer held a presentation on how to integrate WebDynpro ABAP Flash Islands with OpenStreetMap. As I do contribute to OpenStreetMap (OSM) already for more than a year now it made me think if OSM is ready to be used for Geocoding. Four years ago I’ve did that using the Geocode Business Partner with Google Maps and Geocoding – the next step: Routing with Map24 AJAX API. Pascal Neis pointed me to the Nominatim service that can be used for Geocoding. So I started investigating and today you can try out the ZGEOCODE project.

How it works

The Nominatim service provides an XML interface that can be called via HTTP submitting an address that should be geocoded. This service is used in the ZCL_GEOCODE_NOMINATIM class that implements the IF_GEOCODING_TOOL interface. This interface has to be defined to allow customer or partner solutions to be used for geocoding i.e. business partners. When the class is activated via the customizing the found geographic informaition is saved in the GEOLOC table. To access this data you can use the class ZCL_GEOCODE_HELPER.



To do a quick test of the Geocoding result without any additional customizing you can use the ZGEOCODE_NOMINATIM_READ_BP program. It will allows you to search for all existing business partners and display them in a list. Then just click on the partner id like here 101:


Then you will be directed to the map showing the Business Partner location:


Extend BP Transaction with map display

Thorsten Franz who is an expert on the Business Data Toolset (BDT) helped me to get the map integrated in the transaction BP. Together with Tobias Trapp he had written the Book “ABAP Objects: Application Development from Scratch” which is covering BDT in detail.

As you can see from the screen shot below OpenStreetMap can me nicely integrated in the BP transaction:


PC-UI People Centric User Interface

Unfortunately I don’t have a CRM 6.0 or 7.0 system available where I can integrate the map into the CRM WebUI. But the SAP NetWeaver 7.01 SR1 SP3 ABAP Developer Edition (NSP) comes with the PC-UI framework which is shown in the next screenshot:


So if you like to use that in your own system check out the SCN Wiki Page on ZGEOCODE.

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  • Hi Gregor,

    this is really great work.

    It works well for me with German addresses - but not Australian ones. I have done the same customising for country AU as for DE. Any ideas?

    Graham Robbo

    p.s. One small issue is that I found some of the objects required for the test program ZGEOCODE_NOMINATIM_READ_BP are missing from the SAPLink nugget.

    • Hi Graham,

      great that you give it a try. Yes, you have to add AU in the customizing step "Assign Geocoding Program to Countries".

      Can you tell me what Object is missing in the Nugget?

      Best regards

  • Hi Gregor,

    just installed the tool on our server and I learned a lot this evening. Sadly I could not test it, as our server does not have internet access 🙁 I am going to ask our admins to allow internet connection, but I doubt my success.

    From what I have seen until now: Well done! This does look very cool!

    Anyhow, there is always a small point for nagging. As you state in the code "borrowed by SAP" and it looks just like it. Probably a small makeover would do 😉

    cheers Carsten

    • Hi Carsten,

      thank you for your comment. Hope you've got web access for your ABAP System now. Haven't you authorizations to SICF to configure a proxy server?

      Would love to get a SAPlink patch file how you would refractor the coding.

      Best regards

      • Hi Gregor,

        yep, I had to use a proxy. Bad thing: I did not know which one. Now it is all up and running.

        After some testing, I did the first enhancement:
        - Use a RFC destination to get all server data(including proxy) instead of hardcoding the URL
        - Add the postal code to the query

        While snooping around in the code, I stumbled accross some other things:
        - the GeoCoder is rather weak. I tried to encode the street "Hauptstr." and it came back with an empty result. "Hauptstrasse" is encoded correctly. Seems to be an issue for only some addresses.
        - Sometimes there is more than one address returned... Do you know if there is the possibility to bring up a user dialog with all addresses. A cool thing would be to do some data adjustments to the address as well, when the GeoCoder returns more information than inserted.
        - If no address is returned, you just skip the coding. I would go about an iterative approach. Like try with the full address, then without street, without city, etc.

        As soon as I figure out how to use SAPLink correctly for export and have done some of the things I mentioned above, I am going to pack up a file.

        cheers Carsten

        • Hi Carsten,

          an easy way to find the proxy settings when Automatic Proxy Configuration is used to open the URL http://wpad/wpad.dat. That brings up a JavaScript file with all the Proxy Servers. But then you must hope that they don't need Windows Authentication. The ABAP Stack only support Basic Authentication to proxies AFAIK.

          Thank you for the great suggestions here are some comments:

          - I've avoided the requirement of a RFC destination for the moment to make it easier to try the package. But you're right it gives more flexibility.
          - Have you tested if adding the postal code gives better geocoding results?
          - Nominatim is not like the Google Maps API Geocoding service and does currently not provide any linguistic search
          - It's absolutely possible to provide a dialog where the user can select the correct address. I wanted to release early to get that feedback.

          Regarding SAPlink please check out the Google Wave for ZAKE_SVN. It will send you a Wave invite if you don't have an account yet. Just send me a mail. ZAKE_SVN is a package that allows you to checkout/checkin ABAP Code using SAPlink into a Subversion repository. Coming with ZGEOCODE is the program ZGEOCODE_NOMINATIM_ZAKE_SVN which does that for the ZGEOCODE package. Also it's building ZIP files for distribution.

          Best regards

  • Hi Gregor,

    I used your geocoding sample for learning and was succesful in adopting it for ESRI's online geocoders.  Thanks very much for that.

    I am also interested in implementing the BDT screen for BP. So far I have not been succesful with getting access to the partner number in the PBO of my custom screen.  Are you able to provide hints or share the code/configuration of your BP demo?


    Enrique Yaptenco

  • Hi Gregor,

    we have implemented the modules and it works fine so far we use only one function. My problem is the view V_FLEX_MAPS who could not be activated. If i change to the tab Layout it will generate following dump. This is the reason why i could not transport the Program to the productiv system. I think we don't need this view but how can i transport it to prod?

    can anyone help me  to avoid this error and transport it.

    kind regards

    Karl Mueller

    Except.            CX_SY_REF_IS_INITIAL
    Date and Time      24.10.2014 08:19:03

    Short Text

    Access via 'NULL' object reference not possible.

    What happened?

    Error in the ABAP Application Program
    The current ABAP program "CL_WDY_MD_UI_ELEMENT_LIBRARY==CP" had to be
      terminated because it has
    come across a statement that unfortunately cannot be executed.

    Error analysis

    An exception occurred that is explained in detail below.
    The exception, which is assigned to class 'CX_SY_REF_IS_INITIAL', was not
      caught in
    procedure "GET_PROPERTY_DEFAULT_VALUES" "(METHOD)", nor was it propagated by a
      RAISING clause.
    Since the caller of the procedure could not have anticipated that the
    exception would occur, the current program is terminated.
    The reason for the exception is:
    You attempted to use a 'NULL' object reference (points to 'nothing')
    access a component.
    An object reference must point to an object (an instance of a class)
    before it can be used to access components.
    Either the reference was never set or it was set to 'NULL' using the
    CLEAR statement.

    Missing RAISING Clause in Interface

    Program                             CL_WDY_MD_UI_ELEMENT_LIBRARY==CP
    Include                             CL_WDY_MD_UI_ELEMENT_LIBRARY==CM024
    Row                                 1
    Module type                         (METHOD)
    Module Name                         GET_PROPERTY_DEFAULT_VALUES

    Trigger Location of Exception

    Program                             CL_WDY_MD_UI_ELEMENT_LIBRARY==CP
    Include                             CL_WDY_MD_UI_ELEMENT_LIBRARY==CM024
    Row                                 14
  • Dear Gregor,

    we have implemented the GEOCODE tool and it seem to be a Little difficult to get the right Geocodes.

    We want to get coordinates from a small city and it Looks like that the postcode wasn´t regard. For example we have a citty with a Name where  exists many times, the geocode delivers a code that is not from the right citty with the given postcode

    .I can't imagine that this is a error of the tool,and nobody notice this. I think this is a wrong call of the method.

    we fill the address Parameters like this

  • Dear Gregor,

    this Editor works a Little bit difficult with copy and paste.

    i would say

    we fill the address Parameters correct (here only examples)

    city1 = 'cittyname'

    post_code1 = '99999'

    street = 'streetname'

    house_num1 = '11'

    Country = 'DE'
    time_Zone = 'CET'
    langu_crea = 'EN'

    any hint

    thanks Karl

    • Dear Karl,

      could you provide me some real data? I haven't got problems with the addresses that I've used so far.

      Best regards


  • Hi Gregor

    I am trying to get the ZGEOCODE up and running, bu I keep having the problem, that the tables are not being created, although ther installation indicates otherwise:

    Start import of nugget C:/Projects/ZGEOCODE/build/ZGEOCODE.nugg

    Installed: TABL - ZCOMT_BSP_BP_OSM
    Installed: TABL - ZGEOCODE_BP_DIST
    Installed: CLAS - ZCL_BSP_BP_OSM
    Installed: WAPA - ZGEOCODE_OSM
    Installed: WDYN - ZGC_BP_OSM
    Installed: WDYA - ZGC_BP_OSM

    If possible, could you guide me in the the right direction