Spreadsheets Fuel Powerful Location/Time Visualizations
The Right Tool for the Job
Both the bath tub and the lakeshore are important environments for Data…I mean Apple, for different reasons.
I hear a lot about the tyranny of the spreadsheet, and even use the phrase myself. But to qualify that, the spreadsheet is an outstanding tool for adding, sorting, formulating, storing data -and more. But this tabular view is certainly not the environment where grouping, trending, combining, tracking, or predictive attempts are most readily made.
Enterprise Mashups, Visual Composite Applications, Geo Portals, whatever you prefer to call them, are an ideal way to provide folks a means of spreadsheet management but then the content can then go on to fuel powerful visual applications where the data is presented right were we like it -in time and location. A successful geospatial content manager/visualization will enable both. If you have an Excel file or a SharePoint MOSS list or library, go ahead and throw it into Virtual Earth or Google Earth as a GeoRSS or KML. That’s where it wants to be.
IDV’s Visual Fusion software supports table-to-visualization workflows. See it in Excel, then see it in Virtual Earth…and back.
Models of the Universe
Every data management or visualization tool you use is really a model of the Universe. Some tools provide a lot of abstraction, and some are better off as more literal Mini-Me‘s of reality. Spreadsheets present the world as numeric representations arranged in rows and columns. This level of abstraction is absolutely necessary for many types of data management, but when it comes to turning that data loose, where insight and actionability are more likely, then the model of the universe used by your tool might more closely resemble, well…planet Earth.