A Customized Network Analyst Solution for Everyone
“Network Analyst” is one of the most important analytic tools as it can convert vector data to network data and exclude other redundant information. By applying Network Analyst, users will be able to understand the linear relationships between two dots, and to solve the resource allocation problems with the information they have, such as travel time and distance from origins to destinations. Finally, it will be easy for you to make better decisions on a particular issue. Many people could not tell the difference between road layers and network data. In short, a “road layer” includes many roads or routes that are connected by many line segments (Fig 1). When a road is joined with other ones, there will be many cross-over points, and each road has its own attributes like road name, road type, one-way or two-way, speed, etc. This becomes the concept of “network data”.
After users get a complicated network data file, how can they find the most efficient route to follow? This is when “Network Analyst” comes in handy! In this analyst, users can set up different conditions and analytic methods, such as shortest path analysis (Fig 2), optimal path analysis, searching for vehicle services or service areas, etc. Supergeo’s Network Analyst offers users many different solutions based on the input data so that users can acquire the analytic results within the least expenditure of time and cost.
Fig 2. Network Analyst— the shortest path analysis
Supergeo not only provides professional Network Analyst, but users can also customize their analysts according to different scenarios of application. The GIS beginners who are not familiar with GIS software will benefit a lot from this customized service. The procedure for proposing this service is quite easy. Users only need to inform Supergeo of all their demands and expectations during the analysis process. For example, the original datasets they have, the analytic methods planned to apply on these data, and the desired format final results. Then, Supergeo’s specialists will use Supergeo’s products as the template and incorporate other customized features to meet the users’ needs. Also, they will assess users’ acquaintance with the software and design a customized workflow for users to complete the project (Fig 3.). Afterward, users can operate GIS software by following this custom-designed workflow and get the result they want efficiently and effortlessly!
Fig 3 A sample of customizing workflow
Previously, a department had purchased the Network Analyst in SuperGIS Desktop, planning to apply this tool on finding the best routes for shipping. However, during a follow-up visit, Supergeo’s specialists found that the department still had a hard time using this tool because they needed to undergo some GIS training projects for starters. Furthermore, the analytic results still need more manual adjustments to convert them into the desired format, which ended up taking 3-4 months to finish the same project. During the meeting, Supergeo earned trust and support from the department, trying to understand the whole process of data analysis. Then, the GIS specialists start to optimize the workflow from the thorny part.
The first mission of customization is to simplify the workflow (Fig 4.). As the data source, in this case, comes from text files containing lists (ex: .xlsx, .csv), users will need to convert the data manually before importing them to GIS software. Users should have a certain knowledge of GIS software operation to tackle this problem. So, improving this process becomes the primary task.
Fig 4. A schematic diagram for a custom-designed workflow
The next step is to improve the process of calculating. In Supergeo’s Network Analyst, it can only analyze the shortest route between two points. Consequently, when making the calculations, users should separate their working process into two parts. They should first calculate the route from the origin to the stopover points, then did the same thing from the stopover points to the destination, and merged the two analytic results into the final solution report. The repeating workflow became time-consuming for the department. Owing to this issue, the team of Supergeo decided to design an exclusive operation interface for the department. Now, with the newly-designed interface, it only needs few clicks to finish data selection, and users can directly obtain the final analytic results of best routes from the origin, through the stopover points, and to the destination.
In addition to workflow optimization, users can also change the data display format through customized solutions (Fig 5). By doing so, there is no need to make any manual adjustments to the final results. The data can be used immediately after network analysis.
Fig 5 A customized data display format
After finish developing the customized features, Supergeo will always go through rigorous testing and give customers a complete manual with a detailed guide to how to operate the new functions, including data preparation, package installation, operation procedure, the report of testing results. If there are personnel changes in the future, it will be relatively easy for new employees to get the hang of the customized analyst!
The benefit of the customized analyst, in this case, turned out to be very significant. In the past, the annual analytic task often needed 3-4 months to finish. Now, after receiving help from Supergeo, applying the new customize-designed solution has saved a lot of time. The department told us it only needs 1 month to complete the same project and they’ve saved a lot of time and money (Fig.6)
Fig 6 The final result of the customized solution
In Supergeo, all products are able to slightly adjust the interfaces and workflows to meet the needs of its users, which will help them accomplish their mission efficiently and effectively! The case above is just one of many success stories. Many companies and individuals have successfully improve working efficiency through Supergeo’s customized services. So feel free to contact us to ask for any collaboration opportunities of custom design. By actively exchanging the smart ideas, Supergeo believes it will be helpful for both of us to create a win-win situation!