Building Geospatial Business Intelligence solutions with free and open source components

Presentation | Presented

  • Thierry Badard, Centre for Research in Geomatics (CRG), Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  • Étienne Dubé, Centre for Research in Geomatics (CRG), Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Business Intelligence (BI) tools, such as dashboards, reporting and On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) allow decision-makers to analyze data and information in order to make better decisions. Summarized data from operational systems are presented to users in interactive charts, graphs and reports. As it is commonly recognised that about 80% of data has a spatial component, this can be used to enhance the BI user experience with map displays and spatial analysis tools. Applications such as JMap Spatial OLAP ( are examples of what is possible when merging BI and GIS technologies.

An open-source BI software stack is now offered by Pentaho ( It includes:
- An Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tool (Kettle) used to integrate data from heterogeneous sources to a data warehouse;
- An OLAP server (Mondrian), which provides multidimensional query facilities on top of the data warehouse;
- Reporting and dashboard tools, used to present data to analysts in a convivial manner.

The integration of Pentaho software suite with open-source GIS components (PostGIS, GeOxygene and GeoTools) has thus been investigated to create spatially-enabled BI solutions. We have adapted Kettle to manage the extraction and loading of spatial data and have upgraded Mondrian to query spatial data stored in a PostGIS-based data warehouse, in order to support enhanced map-enabled web based dashboards and geo-decisional Web Services. The presentation will thus detail this integration and will illustrate how it is possible to build Geospatial Business Intelligence solutions based on free and open-source software and ISO and OGC geospatial standards.

Supporting Files