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Automating repetitive tasks with Spectrum workflows?

  • 1.  Automating repetitive tasks with Spectrum workflows?

    Posted 03-14-2018 15:57

    A lot of geospatial processing can be by nature, very repetitive. For example, understanding this week’s network coverage map and its effects on customers. The question is the same as last week, however the coverage has changed. The report process is the same, the base data isn’t. These types of spatial queries and reports can be run manually, they can be sped up by saving the SQL queries so they can be run again more easily, however the process without scripting can be inherently manual when run in a desktop GIS environment. A self-service option can in some cases be preferable.

    This article will work through the process of creating a simple workflow using available mapping data and a basic web form to give quick answers to the question, what is the coverage at any given address or coordinate?

    In this example, the basic data consists of one single file, the coverage map. This coverage file being used is a raster due the increase in performance achievable compared to point in poly querying. In order to learn more about getting coverage maps produced by RF planning tools like Forsk Atoll or InfoVista’s Mentum Planet see this article.

    After review of the aforementioned article, this article continues from the point of where the coverage map has been loaded in to the Spectrum Spatial repository. The coverage map can now be utilised in a Spectrum workflow. In order to create a workflow, start up the Spectrum Enterprise Designer. There is a palette of tools available on the left hand side. When the Location Intelligence Module is installed, there are a separate set of tools, these can be combined with input, output and control stage tools or modules such as geocoding.

    See Attachment

    The workflow in this case is simple. Input Addresses > Geocode Address > Run Spatial Query (spatial point against raster coverage map), Output result. Dragging the relevant components from the Palette, the workflow can be created.

    In a basic test environment, a local machine with Spectrum LIM and MapInfo Pro can be used to create, prove and test the workflows. Once this has been done, the job can be recreated as a web service.

    See Attachment

    Each stage has various settings. The first stage is input of a csv file containing addresses. The second stage is geocoding. In this example, it is a very basic geocode workflow using a single geocoding stage. In reality a more complex geocoding and address validation process could be run to ensure the maximum address match rate is achieved with minimum false positives. 

    In this workflow, the main user input required is setting the query against the coverage map. In the third stage the coordinates for each address are created as points. In the MISQL below the coverage map is the “MI_Raster”, the MapInfo Tab file that has been uploaded in to Spectrum Spatial from MapInfo Pro called “Coverage_Map_UK_PV_Copy”. Point2 is the geocoded dataset or the physical point that represents the Addresses entered. The value of the coverage map at each address location is checked and assigned to the column Point2.

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    Selecting Verify checks that the data is present and the SQL syntax is correct (similar to SQL Select in MapInfo Pro).  

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    The various Output Field’s required are selected. In this case the output required include address fields, Coordinates X and Y and the coverage status at that location.

    A simple web form can be created in order for an end user to interact with this workflow.

    Address Location Input form

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    Coverage Map Output Form

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    Other math based metrics could be added to this workflow to create new KPI’s, for example how many user locations are covered in in a postcode area, district or sector at a given time.