In the first 2 parts of this series of blog posts we had a quick look at the build-in support for Silverlight Web Parts in SharePoint 2010 and the SharePoint Map Integration Layer (SMIL) which allows you to connect SharePoint lists and image libraries to a Bing Maps web part. In this 3rd part we will now have a quick look at the integration with SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services and creating thematic maps from data that you store in SQL Server 2008.
A new feature that was released with SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services and Report Builder 3 is the ability to integrate maps into your reports. Let’s have a lap around this new feature and see how simple it actually is.
After configuring SQL Server Reporting Services for SharePoint integrated mode and adding the Report Server content types to a library we can create reporting services directly from within a document library. From the library tools we select “New document” and then “Report Builder Report”.
This will launch the Report Builder and bring up the Wizard. Let’s select the Map Wizard.
You can create maps from a gallery of resources for the United States, from ESRI shape-files or from spatial data that you store in a SQL Server 2008. Let’s select “SQL Server spatial query”.
The first thing we will need is a new dataset.
You can create new data connections for this dataset or choose from existing ones. Let’s create a new new data connection.
We build our connection string, click “OK”…
…and select the new data source in our dialog.
Next we design our query by simply selecting the fields we need.
By ticking the box “Add a Bing Maps layer” we can use the Bing Maps road-maps, aerial-imagery or a hybrid of both as a background.
Now we choose a visualization type.
In the next step we can either select an existing dataset for the analytical data or create a new one. Let’s select our existing dataset.
Finally we apply a couple of rules for the styling.
Now we can cleanup the mapping part, create other visualization components in the same report and save it in our document library in SharePoint.
Finally we add a Report Viewer web part to our SharePoint site and browse to the report that we want to add.
That’s it. With just a bit of mouse-pushing we created our thematic map in SharePoint.
While this approach is very simple and quite powerful when you want to create different types of simple data visualization, the map is unfortunately quite static. When you are used to the Bing Maps AJAX or Silverlight controls you are probably missing the interactivity of the map with the smooth panning and zooming and the interaction with its layers. In the next part of this series of blog posts we will have a look at how to overcome this limitation and additionally at how to create heat- or density maps.