It's time for another release! Over the last few months, we've been working both behind the scenes and on the user interface to enhance your experience with SpatialKey. The new release focuses on improvements to getting data into SpatialKey and visualizing it in a dashboard.
- Integration of global boundaries for thematic mapping
- Thematic comparison mapping support for any geographic boundary
- More streamlined import workflow with Data Upload Wizard enhancements
- Option to Let SpatialKey Decide how to best visualize your data when creating a map
- Layer Manager enhancements to allow for easier access to frequently used features
- Simplification of the Data Import API so it is approachable for all SpatialKey users
- More and more geocoding options and flexibility
In addition to these new features, you will notice significant thematic mapping performance enhancements. Displaying data for all US Counties for a 1.5M record dataset used to take around 90 seconds... now it takes only 3.5 seconds. Yes, you read that right, 25X faster!
Let's dive in and check out each of the new features in more detail.
Our global thematic mapping release is here! SpatialKey has always offered thematic mapping by US State, County, and Postal Code (or by your own custom geographic boundaries) but now, through an additional subscription, you can map your data by Countries, Postal Codes, and CRESTA Zones internationally.
Images below: Country and France Postal Code (requires additional subscription level) thematic boundary examples
What is thematic mapping? Thematic maps (aka. Choropleth maps) show the distribution of a single attribute by various different geographical areas. They provide quickly digestible information and can highlight outliers and trends for datasets. Also, thematic maps can help you visualize data that isn’t otherwise mappable. You may run into a situation where you don’t have address information or latitude/longitude coordinates for the records in a dataset. When this happens, your data cannot be visualized on a map in traditional ways like individual points or a heatmap, but you can still use thematic mapping. Simply identify which thematic boundary each record belongs in, and we can create a visual representation of your data.
If your organization is interested in licensing global boundaries, please contact us or check out this article for additional details. If you have a need for additional thematic options - like Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), Legislative Districts, etc - please let us know. We are always looking to expand the built-in boundary options in SpatialKey.
Our comparison analytics have just become even more powerful with the expansion of thematic visualization support to any boundary, anywhere in the world! Whether it is a built-in boundary used for standard thematic mapping (US County or High Resolution Postal Codes for example) or a custom shapefile that has been joined with your dataset, now you can view results of comparing two data points thematically by these boundaries.
Visualizing portfolio growth between 2011 and 2012 for a client's Japan portfolio (dark green signifies larger growth)
In addition to simple portfolio growth, you can visualize premium adequacy, compare results from various models, perform market share analyses, and much more. Select any two data points and how you wish to relate them, and you will have a powerful map, telling you much more about your data than before!
If comparing two data points within a single dataset, all thematic options for that dataset will be available. If comparing two data points within two separate datasets, only thematic options that are common between the two datasets will be available - e.g. CRESTA will only be available if both datasets have CRESTA enabled.
The Data Upload Wizard is getting smarter! We shuffled the screens, added a couple additional options and ... the Data Upload Wizard is able to learn from you as you walk through the upload process, delivering an enhanced user experience.
Here's a quick walkthrough of the new Data Upload Wizard workflow.
- After selecting your dataset, identify if your data is in a single country, multiple country, or if your data is going to be analyzed without mapping. If your data is mappable, select how to map your data. The additional option you have that wasn't present before is to use other geographic boundaries.
- The next screen is new and provides more optional functionality. If your organization has subscribed to our global boundary offering, you will see global boundary options in addition to the standard US boundary options (US State, County, and Postal Code).
- Based on your selections on previous screens, we identify field types and required fields. Now you only have to scan the remaining fields and determine if anything other adjustments need to be made. Also, previewing your data is offered on demand now, whereas it was a step in the upload workflow before.
That's it, a few simple changes to bring you a more streamlined import workflow.
Let SpatialKey Decide
Now with only a single click, you can create a map! SpatialKey will now make all decisions to get you into your dashboard quicker. You still have flexibility to change visualizations and metrics once in your dashboard but with the new "Let SpatialKey Decide" feature, you can save decision making until the end, until after you have explored your data.
With all of the changes elsewhere in SpatialKey for this release, we couldn't forget about the Layer Manager. Now, instead of having to look in the layer settings menu to find what you are looking for, we brought frequently used features front and center! Now you have quick access to change metrics, add labels, select visualization options, and remove a layer.
Data Import API Command Line Tool
The Data Import API is now more approachable than ever! Before, only IT and development teams could implement the Data Import API. With the new Data Import API Command Line Tool, typical users of SpatialKey can leverage this functionality without any programming knowledge.
Why use the Data Import API? SpatialKey makes it very easy to login and import data directly… so you might ask yourself, why would I need to use the Data Import API? One common use for the Data Import API is to schedule import tasks. Let’s say that your organization has an internal process that generated a new CSV file for your dataset every night, you could use the Data Import API to automatically pick up that file and submit a replace task in SpatialKey. Instead of coming into work in the morning, logging into SpatialKey, submitting the import job, and then working with the data, you can just wake up, login and start working with the refreshed dataset when you use the Data Import API.
For more details and to download the Command Line Tool visit this article.
Providing you with more flexibility and control over your data, we have integrated multiple geocoding options into SpatialKey. Some geocoding options will require a transactional fee to use but SpatialKey has also rolled out the SpatialKey Free geocoder, which is our own custom-built geocoding solution offered complementary with any SpatialKey license.
In addition to the added geocoding options, you can now export geocoded latitude and longitude coordinates and visualize geocodes on any basemap. For more details on geocoding option, check out this article.