Creating your first project

Level Beginner

This article will help you setup your first project and explore the basic data shaping, query and visualization capabilities of the self service analytics desktop product.

  • Professional or Ultimate edition of the desktop product
  • Configured location of the project store to save your project file
  • File based data sources (ESRI ArcShape and Microsoft Excel) download

 Step 1: Starting a new project and opening your data sources

Start the application, go to the Project tab and select New. To make sure that you wont lose your work, save the project in the Project Store by selecting Save As and giving your project a name.

Making a new project

Saving the project in the Project Store

Now that you have your project set up it's time to add some data and start exploring, shaping and visualizing. Unzip the file based data sources ESRI ArcShape (countries.dbf, countries.shp and countries.shx) and the Microsoft Excel (CountryInhabitants.xls) you can download from this article and place them in a data directory on your computer.

Note about ESRI Shape

Although you will see only the .shp file when opening this data source, the .dbf and .shx also need to be in the same directory as they contain specific parts of the stored data.

If you are interested in the spatial data from this source you will need to know the coordinate system in which the data has been stored. This information is usually provided by the maker of the data source. 

Add the Countries.shp file as a feature source (coordinate system for this file is WGS 84 with EPSG: 4326)

Select the correct coordinate system 

It's a good practice not to auto generate Business Objects right away, before you got familiar with the data source first and know what tables you want to use in your project. Auto generation will save you work in the future when you are more familiar with the product. 

Name your source 'Countries from Shape' and explore the structure of the source by clicking on the arrows

Overview of the data source tables
Map Definitions
Overview of all geometrical fields from the data source
Overview of the fields within the selected data source table
Overview of the alphanumeric and spatial indexes for the selected data source table
Alphanumeric Field
Indicated by a selected column icon
Geometrical Field
Indicated by single or multi point, line or polygon icons
Primary key
Indicated by the key icon

Repeat same steps for the Excel file. As there is no possibility to store geometrical fields in Excel the selection of the coordinate system wont appear. 

Note about Excel

Excel data source is actively checked for mutations, when you adjust the content of the Excel file the results will be visible in the application.

Explore the data sources with the Statistic and Browse functionalities to determine which tables you want to use for your Business Objects. Statistics will give insight in the count of records in the source table and field value distribution per specified field from the selected source table.

Browse or browse filtered will give you the actual content of the source table.

Step 2: Creating and shaping Business Objects

Now that we have know that we want to use the Countries table from ESRI Shape and Inhabitants from Excel we can promote those tables to Business Collections. Select the two tabeles (hold the Ctrl key to perform a double selection and press the Create Buisness Object icon). You can see the green check icon when the source table is being used in the Business Collections. 

Now we can go to the Business Collections overview and start shaping our newly created Business Objects. Select the newly created Countries Business Object and press the configure icon to enter the data shaping menu.

Business Objects

You can view a business object as another layer on top of the source table where you can change existing fields, create derived fields and integrated other source tables (and use their fields directly or aggregated) to create a new object that you can use for reporting, analytics or visualization without changing the actual source. The application will determine the most efficient way of returning the data from the selected data sources based on the choices you make in the configuration of the business object

We are going to integrate the data from Excel with the data from the ESRI Shape file by establishing a relationship (also known as join) between the Countries table and the Inhabitants table. The result will give us the information about the amount of inhabitants in the same Business Objects as the information about the location of the countries. 

Select the Countries Business Object and go to the add source table wizard. In the first menu select Excel sheet as the source where our to be related table is and then Inhabitants table as the source table we want to use for our relationship. 

In the next menu you can choose the type of the relationship. In our case we will use Look Up Table.

Look Up Table
Used for the cases when you want to use the actual value of the field from the related table, it can be either one to one (single lookup), one to many (multiplicity) or forced one to one
Aggregate Table
Aggregate Table is used when the related table will have multiple results (one to many) in the relationship and you want to add aggregated values like Count, Gather, Min, Max, Mean and Sum

Select field Inhabitants in the next menu, this field will be added to our Business Object automatically after the wizard menu is completed. When we want to add another field from the related table we can always do this in the Business Object configuration without running the wizard again. Select Do setup Join in the next menu and check the From Table and To Table fields to make sure that the relationship we want to build is correct.

Next step is configuring the mutual field to set up the relationship, this can be done alphanumeric, spatial or a combination of the two. In the example data sources the field Country Code is mutual in the two sources, so we are going to relate the tables based on this field.

When the wizard is finished you will see the related table in the middle of the screen and a new field added to the countries Business Object. If you browse the Business Object you will see that the amount of inhabitants are added to the countries. 

Step 3: Styling the geometries

For our final step we will add styling to the countries Business Object geometry field and add it to a map. Select the geometry field from the Business Object, in our case it's a multi polygon, and open the style designer.

The Style Designer is used to give the selected geometry field a specific style. The application provides a default set, but it is also possible to create and import your own styles and create styles dependent on context like view scale or attribute values. For now we will choose the default Municipality style for this geometry.

Now we have the integrated Business Object Countries and we styled it's geometry field with the default Municipality style we are ready to put it on a map. Go to the Map Definitions and edit the Default map. In the overview tab you will see the Geometry from Countries that is ready to be used on the map. 

Create a new Theme in the Foreground of the map by right clicking on it and selecting Add Theme and changing it's name to Countries

Changing names

If you want to change the name of the Theme later on you can use the F2 key while the Theme is selected to enter the name edit mode. It will also work in other parts of the application.

You can add the geometry of Countries to the map by selecting it from the Geometry Field tab, selecting the theme and clicking on the plus icon. Select the All option in the Scale Ranges to present the geometry on all levels.


Now you can open the map from the Home ribbon and view the results by navigating on the map and clicking on the countries geometries to view it's properties.

See the video tutorial: 

Please note that the option for auto generation of Business Objects was enabled in the video 

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  • This step by step flow of what to do and how to do is great!

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