Thursday, May 26, 2011

Google Maps Based Background Maps in

One of the new features in the Oracle Business Intelligence 11g v release is the support for Google Maps based background maps.
In a nutshell, what this means is that MapViewer now supports Google Maps as a built-in tile layer. Which means you can use MapViewer to create a tile layer with tile imagery served from the Google Maps server. Once created, you can use these map tiles in your map views in Oracle BI as background maps, without the need to do any programming or custom work. Therefore, in addition to your own background maps, or maps from NAVTEQ, you can also use background maps from Google Maps in

The spatial data to be overlain in your map views still needs to come from some spatial data source, like that provided by NAVTEQ and stored in an Oracle Database.

There are also some other improvements to map views in this release that I will outline next week.

In a nutshell this is what the process looks like:

1. From MapViewer, create a new map tile. Select "Google Maps" from the dropdown of available map sources. This is the new feature in MapViewer in this release, viz. the ability to specify a Google Maps map sources via the UI, without having to write code.

2.  Go to and Sign Up for the Google Maps API - Google Maps API Family - Google Code Then enter this key in the field on the tile layer's properties page. Be sure to be aware of the terms and conditions under which you are allowed to use the Google Maps API, like usage, availability, etc...

The other thing to note here is that you have to specify, as expected, where the spatial data source is for this tile layer. In this case I am using the OBIEE_NAVTEQ_Sample data source from the Sample App. This will tell me what the shapes and definitions are for the geographical entities I want to map on my maps. Unless I am using longitude and latitude coordinates, in which case I can directly plot them on any background map.

3. You can preview the tile layer thus created in MapViewer. This will allows you to verify that the tile layer was created correctly, and that it is fetching the tile layers correctly from the Google Maps server.

4. The next steps have to be done inside Oracle BI. Log in to Oracle BI, go to "Administration", and go to the Manage Map Data screen. From the "Background Maps" tab, select and import this background map into your BI metadata.

5.Now, when you create a new map view, or edit a map view, provided your map view utilizes at least one layer that is also defined to be part of your Google Maps based background map, you can select this Google Map to be your background map for the map view...

More later...