Spatial data has been steadily working its way into mainstream enterprise applications for years now. Often taking their cue from consumer applications that make extensive use of the data to add more geographic context to the user experience, developers of business applications now want to be able to routinely make geographic data a part of the business application experience.
At the Esri User Conference 2016 today, SAP took the wraps off a SAP Geographical Enablement Framework designed to more tightly integrate geographic data created using the ArcGIS system from Esri with the SAP HANA in-memory database platform.
While SAP and Esri have been cooperating with each other for years, Matthew Zenus, vice president of product strategy go-to-market for the Digital Enterprise Platform Group at SAP, says the SAP Geographical Enablement makes it possible to bi-directionally navigate data within SAP HANA applications and ArcGIS. Developers can also use application programming interfaces (APIs) published by GIS systems to fetch geo-spatial data from within a SAP HANA application or, conversely, allow GIS users to access SAP data from within their GIS tools.
Because ArcGIS data is now treated as a natural extension of the SAP HANA database, Zenus says it will now be less costly to include spatial data in applications in a way that doesn’t compromise overall application performance.
There’s no doubt that location has been a missing component of business applications that historically have tended to focus more on time and space. Spatial data creates the opportunity to represent that data providing more visual context. The challenge, of course, has always been finding a way to do that without incurring the cost of having an entirely different database just to manage spatial data.