Tag: Business Analyst Desktop
by Jeff Hincy
With the upcoming release of Business Analyst 10, I thought I would give you a sneak peak at the new report styles. We are revamping some of the existing templates, removing some of the redundant templates, and adding new ones. Here is what the new Demographic and Income report will look like (note: this is currently available on BAO with 2010 data).
This is page 1 and you can see the new header and footer styles are completely customizable and you can duplicate the style for your custom templates.
Here is page 2 with the new charts and graphs style.
Now you may be asking which ones will be removed and why. After installing Business Analyst Desktop, you will immediately notice that some reports are no longer available. These were removed to reduce redundant data and replaced with new, better designed reports that more efficiently cover all the data.
Here is a list of the reports that will no longer be shipped with the product.
- Comprehensive Trend
- Household Summary
- Multi-Area Report
- Race Report
By Lucy Guerra
Continuing a post from Kyle a while back… here’s another sneak peek at what’s coming in Business Analyst 10:
1) That same new feature in Business Analyst Online, Smart Map Search, is going to be available in the Desktop product too! Smart Map Search helps you zero in on the right area in seconds.
2) Business Analyst Premium – In the Business Analyst 10 release, we’re taking customer analysis to the next level. We are introducing a premium version of Business Analyst chock full of data (over 700 Consumer Spending variables and over 2,000 Market Potential variables) and tools to help you learn more about your customers using Tapestry segmentation data. Easy-to-understand, easy-to-share reports, charts, and maps help you see who your customers are, what they like to do, where they live, and how to get more of them.
3) Flash Drive Installation – No more multiple DVD swapping during installation! Business Analyst 10 will arrive on a 32GB USB flash drive.
Stay tuned for another sneak peek…
With the release of ArcGIS 10, we want to remind you that Business Analyst 9.3.1 will not operate on ArcGIS 10. We recommend that you do not install ArcGIS 10 until you receive Business Analyst 10.
- Business Analyst Desktop 10 will be shipping in August.
- Business Analyst Server 10 is scheduled to ship in September.
Check back here at the Business Analyst Products blog for up-to-the-minute news!
The Business Analyst Team
by Kyle Watson
If you’ve installed Business Analyst 931 Desktop, you know that it is delivered on 3 DVDs + the ArcGIS DVD. Installing it once is not such a big deal, but what if your company has 40 or so machines to install? As in a several department-wide enterprise setup that’s a bit cumbersome. To remedy this, we’ve tested and deployed the installation of Business Analyst Desktop across a network in a silent fashion. That is, with a bit of command line setup (Wait! It’s OK…we have examples with like screenshots and stuff) you can automatically deploy Business Analyst to multiple machines – hands off. Overnight if you wish.
There are plenty of things to consider, but we’ve got them covered. You can check out this how-to whitepaper on our Resource Center and start installing with greater ease. Also – yes, you’ll be able to install Business Analyst 10 silently too.
Here’s a high-tech schematic of what happens (they make us add at least one picture )…
By Lucy Guerra
Some great news to share with Business Analyst 9.3.1 users… you can get a jump start on your 2010 analysis and start running the 2010 Demographic & Income report for your trade areas today! It’s all possible with the ESRI Business Analyst Online Reports Add-In…
The Business Analyst Online Add-In is a bridge from Business Analyst Desktop to reports and data from Business Analyst Online. All you have to do is:
1) Download the Add-In >>> 2) Install it >>> 3) Activate your subscription
And it’s free for Business Analyst Desktop users current on maintenance!
Then you can run a 2010 Demographic & Income Profile report for any of your trade areas. You can also attach that data back to your trade area layer so that you can create maps and use the data in your other analysis workflows.
In addition, access to the Business Analyst Online web application is included with a subscription to the Business Analyst Online Add-In so you can search for businesses, thematically map areas, create trade areas, compare sites, create customized reports, and more.
by David Palomino
This article is the second in a series “Cartographic Design and Optimization Methods for Business Analyst”. Click HERE to read the first article.
It was a cozy winter evening in 2008. Mellow conversations in French, German, Spanish, and Italian could be heard in the background, and the chalet fireplace matched the warmth I was already feeling – that content feeling you get after two full weeks of skiing your heart out in the French Alps – when a mysterious “stranger” approached with an audio message from the top. The message was simple and direct: “You’re mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make the Business Analyst MXD look better and perform faster.” Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t that dramatic and maybe I fudged the details of this otherwise true story a little. Nevertheless, this was an exciting and challenging endeavor set before me, and I accepted with alacrity.
BA 9.2. and 9.3
The Business Analyst Desktop product for 9.2 and 9.3 were very good. But the product needed a face-lift so to speak and needed to get in shape. Some of the cartographic designs were out of date, and draw speeds were at times pretty slow.
Mission “Business Analyst 9.3.1” (Code name BA931)
Hence, the new assignment. Upon diving into this endeavor, I was quickly introduced to Cartographers Tim Daley and Corey Lamar in Redlands, and these two were a great resource and helped with cartographic design ideas and suggestions. (Anyone with a cartographic background reading this knows that projects are rarely if ever a one-person thing.) Soon, the design was looking good, but what to do about the draw speed? Corey and Tim suggested simplifying queries for labeling (more on that shortly) among other things. To drill down more, I needed to test and diagnose refresh draw-speeds, find out where the problem layers were, and analyze this for multiple scales and datasets. In addition, this needed to be done comparing 9.3 with the emerging 9.3.1 product. How to do this? Well, there is the old “stopwatch” method, where you sit at a computer and record each draw time. But this is cumbersome and time-consuming, and is not the level of quantitative analysis we needed.
Fortunately, a tool that addresses exactly this was already created! Andrew Sakowicz from the Enterprise Implementation Services Team created the “MXDPerfStat” tool. (This is an ArcScript tool which can be downloaded for free HERE.)
One of the really cool things about this tool is that you can identify specific problems with layers and labeling, and at which scales these problems occur. It even gives general recommendations for editing layers and labels for better results.
Initial edits were made, but there were still problems. One issue was simple labeling of features were not feasible because of the way certain datasets were built.
For example, in order to properly label streets (e.g. “West 1st Street” as opposed to just “1st”), complex queries were required because several parts of the street names were in different fields. With this scenario, the label query would have to read à [Dir]&” “&[Street Name]&” “&[Type]&” “&[Dir2]. As you can imagine, labeling hundreds of thousands of streets this way for each refresh bogged down processing and slowed the redraw speed considerably. Either that, or you would be stuck with incomplete street names, as was the case in Business Analyst 9.2 and 9.3.
Therefore, these fields had to be combined into one field. The easiest way to do this was to convert the existing dataset, which was in SDC format, into a File Geodatabase (FGDB). (This conversion not only aided in consolidating the pertinent fields, but converting to FGDB also decreased the size of the datasets themselves.)
In addition, street layers shouldn’t be labeled all at once, but must be scale dependent by type of street. For example, interstates can be drawn at most scales, but alleys and small roads (which are more numerous) should only be drawn at larger (zoomed in) scales. An example of a query that targets larger streets might look like this à “FCC” LIKE ‘B1%’ OR “FCC” LIKE ‘B2%’. Ugh, more complex queries!!! Therefore, layers like streets were simplified down to their parts by “street type” for easier scale-dependent display. Also, the 9.2 and 9.3 versions were labeling non-streets (alleys, driveways, etc.) further slowing speed. Combining the component name fields and excluding the non-street names from the street name field during the FGDB conversion noticeably sped up the refresh draw times.
Finally, the Table of Contents folder structure was simplified for better organization and intuitive ease of use.
These are just a few of the optimization methods that were employed for the 9.3.1 product release, but the basic results were faster draw-times, a better look, and a more organized folder structure.
The Speed – Quantitative Results
The results of the draw-time speeds showed an overall 77% increase in draw speed!
The Look – Qualitative Results
Business Analyst 9.3.1 was created with a more modern design and cartographically better look. Here are a few “Before and After” screenshots. (For a more complete slideshow of before and after shots, please click HERE.)
The mission for 9.3.1. is accomplished. These edits and changes had the input from almost everyone on the Business Analyst team, and we are working ever more on the future Business Analyst Products to make them even faster, easier, and better looking than before. However, we rely not only on the input from within ESRI, but we rely especially on input from users like you. We look forward to hearing from you and serving you to make our products easier, faster, and better. We really appreciate you and your input.
Please stay tuned for the next in this series “Cartographic Design and Optimization Methods for Business Analyst” as we look into map projections, how they work, and how best to work with them.
by Kyle Watson
We are pleased to announce a new service pack for Business Analyst 9.3.1 Desktop . This service pack is for download only from our Resource Center. The service pack is primarily focused on Territory Design improvements.
Here’s a rundown on some frequently asked questions…
Q: What is this service pack called?
A: Business Analyst 9.3.1 Desktop Service Pack 2 or BA931SP2.
Q: What is the theme of BA931SP2?
A: Performance and accuracy improvements in Territory Design for large or nationwide datasets.
Q: Why is the performance so much better?
A: Balancing algorithms are refined and smarter. Indexes (.tidx) are supplied to make creating territories, using Business Analyst Data, faster.
Q: Will this be available via the automatic “Check for BA Updates?”
A: No. BA931SP2 will only be available from the Resource Center as a downloadable MSP. The setup is run locally, just like any other ArcGIS SP. BA931SP1 will remain the active/current automatic download.
Q: Is this service pack comprehensive? Can I install BA931SP2 instead of BA931SP1 and see all the fixes of both?
A: No. BA931SP2 contains no fixes from BA931SP1. It can be referred to as “in addition to” BA931SP1. It is recommended to install BA931SP1 then BA931SP2.
Q: Are there plans for a BA931SP3?
A: No. The next major desktop release planned is Business Analyst 10 with a tentative target of an August time frame.
By Lucy Guerra
Esri has launched the Ideas Site to collect information from you, our users, about what you like about Esri products, what you don’t like, what’s giving you trouble, and what you think will solve the problem. Simply click here to go to the Business Analyst section of the Ideas site where you can:
So please… share your ideas, share with friends, and share this link!
A Brief Overview of Cartography – The First Article in a Series on Cartographic Design and Optimization Methods for the Business Analyst Products
by David Palomino
The following is a brief introduction to cartographic concepts, many of which you may be familiar with. The purpose of this first article in a series on cartography is to bring these concepts to the forefront for those who have a very limited exposure to GIS and cartographic methods.
One of the main roles I play at ESRI is that I am the guy who gets to update, design, and optimize the Business Analyst MXD each year. Not only does this add value to the BA Products, but it’s really fun to do. Because I don’t want to keep all of the fun to myself, I am setting out to write a short series on Cartographic Design and Optimization Methods, and to show how this adds to the overall quality of our Business Analyst Products. The first entry in this series covers a brief introduction to Cartography.
Cartography is Art
Cartography is an art. This is apparent, as there are many colors or shades, hues, and line thicknesses just as there are these elements in many paintings. As is the case with art, cartography also has psychological and social aspects to it. Depending on your level of involvement and experience with GIS, interactive cartography is also exploratory. You may be asking: How is cartography “social”? What is meant by “exploratory” cartography? Let’s dive in and take a look.
We view colors, shades, and hues not just to identify colors and shades, but to see meaning and interpret our world. For example, if you’re viewing a lake from the air, you may notice that some parts of it are light-blue, while other sections are dark-blue. You would perceive that the lighter areas are relatively shallow while the darker waters are deep.
Figure 1 illustrates this point. Most people will view the circle on the right as “popping out”, the left circle as somewhat neutral, and the black circle as a “hole” in the backdrop. Also, it’s common to perceive the red circle as slightly bigger (if the object is closer, it must be bigger too), when, in fact, all of the circles are the same size.
Our brains also interpret certain colors to represent natural features. For example, blue lines or blue polygons are easily interpreted as bodies of water; whereas a gray line may be interpreted as a road.
There are social constructs to cartography as well with the use of color. A Red-Yellow-Green color scheme often is used to depict high density, such as Population Density, with red being the high density spot. Because red is considered a warm or “hot” color, we use the term “hot spot” or “heat maps” to communicate locations for optimal sites to put new stores, locations of endangered species sightings, or areas of low and high crimes rates. However, when it came to monetary type demographic data, such as Median Household Income, Median Home Value, etc. the Red-Yellow-Green color scheme would not do. Since the color of money in the United States is green, I changed the color scheme to White-Green, with the darker green areas being the most affluent.
Figure 2 shows the Median Household Income for the Long Beach/Palos Verdes area of California, with some parts of Long Beach being very poor while Palos Verdes and the beach communities of southern Santa Monica Bay being affluent.
With GIS, cartography is getting ever increasingly exploratory. In years past, static maps were read like books – all of the information was there in front of you to see. The beauty of GIS is that information is “there” in front of you, while simultaneously there is potentially an endless amount of information that can be mined, discovered, manipulated, and used. Thus, the exploratory nature of GIS renders maps as portals of information, rather than static “what you see is what you get” maps. With our Business Analyst products, you can discover relationships between Educational Attainment and Median Household Income levels and how this affects Consumer Spending patterns. You can use historical data to run trend analyses, as well as run predictive analyses with “what if” scenarios (e.g. “What if we closed Store A and opened a store at another site?”). Indeed, the amount of information and discovery at your fingertips (all information that helps you to make better business decisions) is enormous!
Please stay tuned for the next in this series as we look at cartographic optimization methods that were implemented for Business Analyst 9.3.1 and why 9.3.1’s performance was several times faster than 9.2. Thanks.
by Kyle Watson
Today I wanted chat a bit about Projects in Business Analyst Desktop and how to export and import them. First off, Projects are a way to automatically save and organize all the work you create in Business Analyst. Everything from Stores to Customers to Trade Areas are saved to Projects in a standard directory structure. The great thing about this is, we make it easy to backup and share them through our Export and Import functions. You can then send a zipped Project to a colleague so they can see your work – and add to it. Or you can just backup your Projects to an archive for safe keeping.
So let’s walk through a typical scenario: You are working on a demo for a potential client. You are setting up all the work, but need to get it to the Sales folks doing the presentation. You have Business Analyst Desktop, they have Business Analyst Desktop…so just export your Project and email it to them.
To Export a Project, open the Project Explorer (icon is on the Business Analyst toolbar) and right-click the Active Project. Select Export/Backup Project.
A dialog appears showing you all the contents of the Project. You can check off any files you don’t intend to send (for ex: you may have some temp files that aren’t applicable to a demo). The Export process creates a zip file for you.
When you are ready to import the Project, just open the Project Explorer window again and right-click the Active Project. Select Import Project. The dialog here is full of “smart” options in case you already have a Project with the same name. You can override it, rename it, or merge any new files into it. That’s pretty cool!
So once you’ve successfully imported the Project, it is automatically added to your My Output Data directory. The contents and settings will be exactly the same as the machine it came from.
Another Tip: You don’t HAVE to use the Import utility. In Windows Explorer you can add a Project to Business Analyst by manually copying the main Project folder to your My Output DataProjects folder. Open ArcMap and the Project will be in there. You can also do this with individual files like Trade Areas and Reports, etc. Just copy them into their corresponding folders from Project to Project.