Oracle Spatial User Conference: Highlights and Perspective

By Joe Francica

The Oracle Spatial User Conference is a one-day event that has followed the GITA Annual Conference for each of the past three years. This year it was held in San Antonio on March 8. Jim Steiner, senior director of Oracle Server Technologies, opened the meeting with a discussion of Oracle's commitment to enhancing its existing solutions and highlighting significant announcements within the past year: Oracle Maps and partnerships with General Electric (GE Energy) and NAVTEQ.

Steiner illustrated how Oracle Spatial is tackling projects of significant complexity and breadth at the U.S. Census Bureau and the Ordnance Survey. "We use our unique skills and technology infrastructure to solve data management problems we believe no one else on the planet can solve. That is really what it is all about. This is how we can uniquely add value to our customers and partners," said Steiner. He highlighted success in risk assessment in the insurance industry by pointing to the success of applications developed for Quality Planning Corporation (QPC) and Guy Carpenter, a Marsh and McLennan Company.

Steiner introduced the long-awaited integration of location technology with the Oracle business intelligence (BI) software suite formerly called Discoverer and later augmented with the acquisition of Siebel Analytics. The result, now called Oracle BI Enterprise Edition, is capable of utilizing Oracle Maps. Oracle Maps is a new Java map application development kit included with Oracle Application Server MapViewer. It consists of a free-scrolling AJAX-based Web mapping interface, a flexible and open JavaScript API, a map cache and MapBuilder-a map design and styling tool. This is a "killer app" and is intended to spatially enable Oracle's entire BI stack to create location intelligent (LI) solutions. If you are looking at other BI/LI integration options such as MapInfo/Microstrategy or ESRI/Business Objects, you should probably take a close look at how seamless the integration pathways are between these solutions. The compelling competitive advantage that Oracle presents is its ability to offer a unified architecture with numerous supported applications.

"What has been lacking to bring this better information and the fusion of geo and other context-based relevant data has been a platform. In the same way that non-GIS Web Portals and Web Services standards were the transformational platforms for consumer mapping services, the BI system and Asset Management system will be the platform for the geo-enabled business application. Oracle sees Service-oriented Architecture services and BI as part of every application and geospatial technology as an integral part of these systems," said Steiner.

While Oracle could not comment on its recent announcement of the acquisition of Hyperion, one of the larger BI companies, it is anticipated that Hyperion software will eventually become part of the Oracle BI suite.

Published Friday, March 16th, 2007

Written by Joe Francica

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